Norway lifts COVID-19 restrictions, despite under 70 per cent of population being fully vaccinated

Norway has re-opened society, its government says, ending its COVID-19 restrictions that have limited social interaction and hobbled many businesses.Key points:Culture and sports venues will be able to utilise their full capacityAs many as 76 per cent of Norwegians have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine Meanwhile, 67 per cent have been fully immunised against the virusThe Nordic nation joins a small but growing number of countries, including Denmark and Britain, which have removed all domestic restrictions that limited the spread of COVID-19.”It is 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime … Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference.Restrictions ended at 4:00pm (local time) on Saturday, Ms Solberg said.The decision to no longer require social distancing will allow culture and sports venues to utilise their full capacity, rather than just a portion of seats, while restaurants can fill up and nightclubs re-open.LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemicMs Solberg had so far implemented the first three stages of a four-step plan to remove social and economic restrictions imposed since March of last year, but the final step was postponed several times amid worries over rising infection rates.”In short, we can now live as normal,” Ms Solberg said. While restrictions have eased in Norway, the government still expects there to be COVID-19 cases. (Reuters: Ints Kalnins)Some 76 per cent of all Norwegians have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 67 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to the country’s Institute of Public Health.”Even though everyday life is now back to normal for most people, the pandemic is not over. People will still get sick and, therefore, it is important that everyone gets vaccinated,” Ms Solberg said.International COVID vaccine passports on the wayVaccine passports for international travel will be available from next month.Read moreThe Prime Minister warned, however, that those who contracted COVID-19 after the restrictions lift must still go into isolation to avoid spreading the virus.Travel restrictions will also be relaxed and the government will no longer advise against travelling outside of Europe.Some restrictions will still apply to those arriving from countries considered to have high rates of infections, the government said.Ms Solberg thanked the different government agencies involved in the response as well as the general public.”I want to say, ‘Thank-you very much, Norway,” she said.ReutersSpace to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 5 minutes 18 seconds5m Families and kids share their lives in lockdownWhat you need to know about coronavirus:Loading form…

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