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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday 

Find out what’s going on in Norway on Monday with The Local’s short roundup of important news. 

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday 
Oslo Operahus. Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Covid-19 vaccine redistribution begins today 

Norway has started prioritizing vaccines to areas in Eastern Norway with consistently high infection rates. The majority of municipalities in Norway will see a cut in vaccine shipments of up to 35 percent. 

The 23 municipalities selected to receive more doses will now receive up to 45 percent more vaccines until they have offered everyone over 18 a jab. 

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health picked the municipalities based on a model that considered the risk of infection, risk of hospitalization, and progress in the vaccination program. 

Municipalities, where doses have been diverted elsewhere, will offer an accelerated inoculation scheme during the summer to ensure that the NIPH target of offering everyone 18 a dose by the end of July doesn’t slip.

READ MORE: Norway begins redistributing Covid-19 vaccine doses to local areas 

NIPH clarify tweet saying pandemic over

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health have insisted that the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing after the health Institute’s chief doctor, Preben Aavitsland, posted a tweet saying the pandemic had ended. 

“It is too early to state from the NIPH side that this pandemic is over in Norway. But it is very gratifying development that both the number of infections and positive tests are declining, and that the incidence of new hospital admissions and intensive care units have been stably low in recent weeks,” Director of the NIPH, Camilla Stoltenberg, said in a statement

Last week, the NIPH predicted that the coronavirus epidemic within Norway’s borders would disappear by the summer. 

Read More: Covid-19 epidemic in Norway could ‘disappear’ by summer 

Record support for EEA in Norway 

According to a new survey, two-thirds of people in Norway would vote in favour of an agreement with the EEA if a referendum were held today.

Data collection firm Sentio conducted the survey for newspapers Nationen and Klassekampen

The majority are still against full EU membership. Almost 30 percent of those surveyed said they would want Norway to become an EU member, the highest proportion in favour of joining the EU since 2010. 

Last Friday, Norway struck a deal with the UK on a post-Brexit free trade deal. The Norwegian government said that the deal was the largest it had entered into, outside of the EEA agreement. 

READ MORE: Norway and UK strike post-Brexit trade deal

128 new Coronavirus cases in Norway 

On Sunday, 128 new coronavirus measures were recorded in Norway, a decrease of more than half on the seven-day average of 284. 

Infection numbers tend to be lower on weekends. 

In Oslo, 52 new Covid cases were registered, 29 more than the seven day average of 81. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 1.0. This means that every ten people that are infected will, on average, only infect another ten people, indicating that the infection level is stable. 

Total number of Covid-19 cases. Source: NIPH

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OSLO

EXPLAINED: What Oslo’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions means for you

Most, but not all, of the Norwegian capital's local Covid restrictions have been lifted to fall in line with national coronavirus rules, with new limits on guests at home and new guidance on face masks. Here’s a rundown of what the latest restrictions mean for you.

EXPLAINED: What Oslo's easing of Covid-19 restrictions means for you
Oslo's skyline. Photo by Oscar Daniel Rangel on Unsplash

Covid-19 measures in Oslo have been relaxed, with the majority of local restrictions being replaced with the looser national rules.

The new rules are a mix of steps three and four of the city’s five-step reopening plan and were introduced after the lowest infection numbers since last autumn were recorded in Oslo last week. 

Last week, 239 coronavirus infections were registered in the Norwegian capital. 

“The gradual, controlled opening of Oslo has been a success. Many of the rules that the people of Oslo have been expected to live with are now being removed, and we will essentially live with the same corona rules as people elsewhere in Norway,” Oslo’s Executive Mayor Raymond Johansen said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Not all local restrictions have been lifted however, meaning there are a mix of local and national rules in place. 

Below we’ll take a look at how the measures will affect everyday life in Oslo. 

At home 

The significant change here is that the ban on having more than ten people gathered at home has been lifted completely. Instead, this will be replaced with the national recommendation not to have more than guests. 

So while it will not be recommended to have more than ten guests, it’s not an enforceable rule anymore. 

READ MORE: What happens if you get caught breaking the Covid-19 rules in Norway

Shopping 

The local rules for shopping malls and stores have been tweaked too. There will no longer be any rule that makes face masks mandatory in shops. In addition to this, the official social distancing measure has been halved, to one metre, and the limit on the number of people allowed in shops has been scrapped. 

However, it’s worth noting that some shops may wish to keep some infection control measures in place if they feel it helps keep staff and shoppers safe, so it may be worth bringing a mask along on your next trip to the shops just in case.

Face masks  

The rule on mandatory face masks in public has also been given the axe, with two exceptions. 

You will still need one if you are taking public transport or taking a taxi. 

Masks will no longer be needed in shops, gyms, museums and galleries, indoor swimming pools, spa facilities and hotel facilities such as pools and dining areas. 

Although, some places may still wish to continue with a mask policy, so always remember to have one handy to be sure. 

Hospitality 

At indoor public places, such as restaurants, 50 people are allowed in venues without fixed assigned seats and 200 people at events with set, assigned seats.

Outdoors, 200 people can gather in cohorts of three, meaning a potential venue of 600 for places with the space and capacity and where there is fixed designated seating.

Soon, when the government changes its rules for events, up to 5,000 people will be able to gather when there is a seating plan in place, provided venues aren’t operating above 50 percent capacity.  

Up to 20 people can book a table at a restaurant or bar when indoors and 30 people outdoors. 

Alcohol will now be able to be served until midnight rather than 10 pm, and this rule will stay in place until July 4th. The cut-off point will remain in place even if national rules change and allow alcohol to be served later. 

Sports, leisure and entertainment 

Bingo halls, bowling alleys, arcades, playgrounds can now reopen.

Oslo’s numbers cap on the people allowed in gyms, museums, galleries, and indoor pools has been lifted. 

Now, 20 people can work out, go for a swim, or take in some art indoors, and up to 30 can do so outdoors. 

Schools 

Restrictions for schools and kindergartens haven’t changed, however. 

This means that schools and kindergartens in Oslo will remain at yellow level. 

Yellow level means that full class sizes are allowed, but mixing between classes must be kept to a minimum. Yellow level also means increased cleaning and hygiene measures are also in place. 

You can read more about yellow level here

Adult education and university are at red level, which means digital learning where possible and minimal contact between students and teachers. 

You can read more on red level here

Work

People are still required to work from home where possible until July 4th. 

Executive mayor Johansen has previously said the home office would be one of the last pandemic measures to go, meaning it could be here for a while longer. 

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