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‘It’s nearly time’: What will life in Norway be like when last Covid-19 measures are lifted?

'It's nearly time': What will life in Norway be like when last Covid-19 measures are lifted?
Life in Norway could soon be back to normal. Photo by tarreha on Unsplash
Norway's health minister, Bent Høie, and Norwegian health authorities, on Friday, outlined what life in the country would be like when the last national Covid-19 restrictions are dropped.

Minister of Health Bent Høie said Friday that the time for Norway to drop the last national coronavirus measures was on the horizon.

“We are approaching the time for a normal everyday life with increased preparedness. We will not announce when it will happen, but we will talk about what will happen,” he said at a government press conference on Friday.

The health minister also revealed a glimpse at what the country would look like once Covid measures were lifted, or what the government has dubbed “new everyday life with increased preparedness”.

“There will still be infections in society, as before the pandemic hit us. There will still be hospitalisations and deaths, as was the case before the pandemic hit us. The vaccines provide good protection but not 100 percent, in addition, other viruses will circulate,” Høie said.

He also warned that health authorities were bracing themselves for a tough flu season this year due to the general immunity in the population falling as a knock-on effect of infection control measures aimed at reducing coronavirus cases.

READ ALSO: Why health experts in Norway are more worried about flu than new Covid-19 variants

The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) also published a list of recommendations that should be implemented when the final restrictions are lifted.

The health authorities said that social distancing, working from home, contact reducing measures, Covid certificates for travel and domestic use, entry restrictions and testing before and after travel could be all be axed. Although the exact details surrounding how these measures will be scrapped could change as they are only recommendations for the time being. 

The Norwegian Directorate of Health also recommended that preparedness for new variants, a winter Covid wave and other respiratory illnesses be maintained.

Furthermore, the directorate stressed that the lifting of measures wasn’t the end of the pandemic and that a contingency plan would need to be put in place should the pandemic develop in an unexpected manner.

It also said that the lifting of entry measures and travel rules should be done gradually, meaning many may still have to wait a while before they can travel to Norway again.

The TISK (testing, isolation, infection tracing and quarantine) strategy would also be downgraded on September 27th, although neither the health minister nor health directorate clarified how this would work.

On testing, the Norwegian Directorate of Health also advised that municipalities retain good test capacity and capability throughout the window and that if test stations are closed, it should be possible to have them operational again in two weeks.

Høie also added that municipalities could begin winding down their Covid vaccine programs from the beginning of October.


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