Norway to lift almost all coronavirus restrictions by June 15

Norway's government has announced that schools will reopen for 11 to 16-year-olds on Monday as it laid out a timetable which will see almost all coronavirus restrictions lifted by June 15.

Norway to lift almost all coronavirus restrictions by June 15
Norway's government announcing the lifting of restrictions on Thursday night. Photo: Fredrik Hagen / NTB Scanpix / AFP
“I think this is a time we will remember for the rest of our lives,” Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg said as she announced the schedule.
“You have shown us patience, now it is our turn to give back. That is why we are presenting a plan to reopen Norway, a plan to take back everyday life.”
According to the plan, Norway's restrictions will be lifted in stages, with the last significant measures expected to disappear by July 15. 
According to Abid Raja, Norway's Minister of Culture and Sports, elite football clubs can now resume training with a view to holding competitive league matches again from June 16. 
Espen Rostrup Nakstad from the Norwegian Directorate of Health said that Norway was now in a different situation from the one it had been in in March, when little was known about the virus. 
He said that to avoid a second wave in infections, Norwegians would have to continue to maintain social distancing measures, and continue to quarantine themselves in the case of illness. 
“There are two things that could cause the infection to flare up again,” he said. “One is that we have more contact with each other and start going out [into society] when we are sick. Then the infection will spread. The second is imported infections: that we get new cases of infection from abroad. That could also cause an outbreak.” 
In her announcement, Solberg said that the reopening signalled a shift in the government's coronavirus approach, from a 'knock-down strategy' to a 'control strategy'. 
These changes will apply immediately, from May 7: 
  • The maximum recommended private gathering has been increased from five to 20, provided it is possible to keep at least 1m distance. 
  • Public events of up to 50 people can he held, if there is a reputable organiser. 
  • Sports activities involving up to 20 people can resume. 
  • Sports halls can open (although there is a ban on group changing rooms) 
  • The time required for quarantine has been shortened from 14 to 10 days. Those who have tested positive for coronavirus are exempt from quarantine. 
  • Employers should ensure that employees can keep a distance of at least one meter throughout their working hours.

These changes will come into effect on Monday, May 11: 

  • All schools can open. 
  • Driving schools can be opened.
  • Bingo halls and similar institutions can open.
  • Adult education colleges can open.

These changes will come into effect on Wednesday, June 1: 

  • Bars which don't serve food can reopen.
  • Amusement parks can reopen. 
  • School swimming lessons and organised swimming can resume. 
  • New advice for leisure travel will be issued. 

These changes will come into effect on June 15: 

  • Events with up to 200 people can take place.
  • Gyms and fitness centres can reopen. 
  • Public swimming pools can reopen.
  • Norway's Eliteserien top football league can start to hold games again (on June 16)

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