Norway to allow events of up to 50 people from next week

Norway's government will from next week allow events for up to 50 people to be held in public places, in a major relaxation of the country's restrictions which will open the way for at least some group celebrations on National Day.

Norway to allow events of up to 50 people from next week
Will this allow an audience to watch performances of groups like the Buekorps Boys Brigade. Photo: Visit Norway
From May 7, events will be allowed to be held in a public place for up to 50 people, so long as they meet a set of new conditions.
“Now we are open up a bit, but we are setting clear conditions to keep control,” the country's health minister Bent Høie said as he announced the change, according to Norway's state broadcaster NRK.  “Events will be allowed where it is possible to keep a distance of at least one meter between people who are not in the same household.”
He added that if the new rule for public events goes well, and Norway does not seen a worrying surge in infections over the coming month, the government might then lift the maximum number to 200 people.
Those holding the events must also be deemed a “responsible organiser” capable of keeping a record of who is present, and how many people are attending. 
“It is important for a responsible organiser to ensure rapid infection detection if necessary,” he said. “Events without a responsible organiser will not be allowed.” 
For gatherings which do not have a responsible organiser, the limit remains at five people, as it was previously, he said. 
On May 7, the government plans to announce its guidelines for celebrations for Norway's National Day on May 17. 
Norway currently has a ban all gatherings of more than five people, compared to ten in Denmark and 50 in Sweden. 

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UPDATE: Norway bans big events as coronavirus hits ‘new phase’

Norwegian health authorities have called for all who can to work from home, and for all events involving more than 500 people to be cancelled, as the coronavirus infection in the country enters "a new phase".

UPDATE: Norway bans big events as coronavirus hits 'new phase'
Workers in Norway are encouraged not to use the bus or tram: Photo: Bonanza Grim Evensen/Ruter
The Norwegian Directorate of Health announced the new measures at a press conference on Tuesday evening, before confirming the limit on large gatherings and the call for homeworking in two press releases.  
“We are now in a new phase,” Director General Bjørn Guldvog said. “Over the last 24 hours we have received the first cases of infection that cannot be traced.” 
“I want to emphasise that the situation is serious. We all have to take responsibility. In this way, we can achieve what we have been talking about all along: To get the lowest possible spread of infection, and thus take care of all the people in Norway in the best possible way.” 
Norway's VG tabloid on Wednesday evening reported that there were now 407 cases in the country, collating reports from each municipality. This is considerably above the official 277 figure reported on Tuesday evening by the Norwegian Institute for Public Health, which takes longer to collate the municipal figures.  
Health Minister Bent Hoie told Norwegians they should start preparing for a medium pandemic scenario, where 22,000 people are hospitalised. 
“Measures taken must be based on good, professional assessments and implemented only when appropriate,” he said. “It may be that we see more radical measures.” 
At the press conference Line Vold, department director at FHI, said that at least five of the cases appeared to have no connection to travel abroad or to contact with anyone who had travelled abroad. 
“We are assuming that there not yet a lot of ongoing infection taking place that we have not yet discovered, but there will always be dark numbers, because we are unable to test everyone.” 
Shortly after the press conference, Dag Jacobsen, head of the intensive care unit at Oslo University Hospital, warned that the measures would not be sufficient to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed in future days as the number of infections increases. 
“The recommendation of the Norwegian Medical Association is a ban on all events over 50 participants, not 500,” he said. “The use of buses and trams must be limited. We should impose compulsory home office work for everyone possible. I don't think people realise how serious the situation is that we are facing.”