Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and senior officials are scheduled to brief media on changes to Covid-19 restrictions on Tuesday evening, broadcaster NRK reports.
The government has already signalled significant changes to the current restrictions, many of which could be lifted, but a complete end to restrictions like the one adopted by neighbouring Denmark on Tuesday has been ruled out.
That is because authorities in Norway remain concerned about the high number of patients with Covid-19 at the country’s hospitals, with the peak of the current wave of infections yet to be reached, NRK writes.
According to the broadcaster, limits on capacity in cultural settings and current restrictions on alcohol sales could be eased on Tuesday, although the full details of any potential changes are unclear.
Cafes, pubs and restaurants and other licensed venues are currently allowed to serve alcohol until 11pm.
Rules relating to self-isolation could also be eased. People who have tested positive for Covid-19 and people who have symptoms of the virus will still be required to isolate, however.
The government could also announce during Tuesday evening’s briefing that travel rules will be further relaxed.
Last week saw the end of Covid-19 entry quarantine rules for all arrivals, meaning travellers arriving in Norway are no longer be required to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status or whether they have a valid Covid-19 certificate.
Additionally, rules and restrictions could be switched for recommendations in a number of areas.
Newspaper Dagbladet reported on Monday that social distancing guidelines and face mask rules will be retained, although NRK writes that these rules may be adapted.
Requirements to work from home where possible could be revoked according to a report by newspaper VG.
Government decisions relating to Covid-19 restrictions are made on the basis of recommendations from health authorities the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
The deputy director of the latter authority, Espen Rostrup Nakstad, confirmed to NRK that the easing of restrictions in several areas had been recommended.
There is no guarantee all restrictions will be eased at the same time, Nakstad said.
“There will be an assessment of how the infection situation will develop going forward and of sick leave (from workplaces), and how quickly we should move forwards,” he said.
Health authority recommendations are also weighed against other factors in final government decisions. The government is expected to meet this afternoon, NRK reports.
“(The situation) is going the right way. We now have a virus variant which gives a more normal respiratory infection and results in far fewer hospital admissions. Many are now ell vaccinated and many have been ill. It is absolutely going the right way,” Nakstad told the broadcaster.
Asked whether Norway should take the same step as Denmark and lift all restrictions, the senior health official noted Denmark’s high rate of booster vaccination.
More than 60 percent of the Danish population has received a third dose — one month ahead of health authorities’ schedule — compared to an EU average of just under 45 percent.
“Last autumn we lived very normally for a few weeks until the Delta variant started to cause problems in the late autumn. I think we will be good at adapting to a new everyday life. What’s important is that we don’t lose our heads and forget our everyday routines,” he also said.
That means staying at home when sick and regular testing to avoid the strain of high infection rates and absences from workplaces, he said.