More than a year after the corona pandemic hit Norway with crippling force, one thing is certain: There is still a great deal of uncertainty. Therefore, Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) did not give any specific dates for when the reopening of our society can start – or determine when it will be completed – when she presented to the Storting on Wednesday.
On the contrary, the government proposes that easing of infection control restrictions must take place gradually, carefully and based on measurable facts, it emerged from the report.
Next week, the government will consider whether the very strict, national measures that have now been implemented can be relaxed. This may mean that a somewhat narrower outdoor beer season may be in the offing in some parts of the country, and that it may be allowed to play training matches at some levels – to name a few.
And if development goes in the right direction, we may have the opportunity to have five people visit our home.
– The government will consider whether all or part of the national tightening that came before Easter can be reversed. This is step 1 in the reopening and can be seen as a preparatory phase, said Solberg.
The Prime Minister made a number of reservations that the great uncertainty surrounding the development of infection and disease means that it is very difficult to be specific and make promises. But if the reopening plan is implemented as Solberg revealed from the Storting’s rostrum, society will not be able to return to normal until some time in July.
– We do not come up with specific dates, but we say what prerequisites must be present for us to open up – and in what order we must open up the various parts of society, Solberg said.
The authorities will reopen society in four phases. Each phase will take at least three weeks, because it is crucial to know the effects of the measures taken in the individual phases before we move on to the next. Only when it is considered safe, and the infection does not increase again, can we move on to the next step in the plan.
– In step 4, much may be almost as normal, but there will still be requirements for infection control measures, distance, that you are at home when you are ill or in quarantine, and there may still be a need for some use of home office. There will still be number restrictions associated with large public events and grassroots sports and leisure activities, but it must be considered on an ongoing basis, Solberg said.
Working with vaccine certificate
The government is also working to establish a corona certificate for people who have been vaccinated or are otherwise immune. The Norwegian solution will be in line with the EU’s digital Green Certificate. It has been a clear ambition of the EU and WHO that the European solution should be adapted to an international solution.
– The government is investigating whether a simplified version of a corona certificate can also be used nationally to be able to open up more and faster, through digital documentation of test and vaccine status, the Prime Minister said.
Efforts are also being made to adapt infection control rules for those who are immune, as well as the rules for infection quarantine, entry quarantine and waiting quarantine for those who have been vaccinated.
One measure that can speed up the reopening is comprehensive mass testing at schools. Various tests with mass testing are carried out in Oslo, Bergen, Askøy and Molde. At the University of Oslo, about 50 percent of the students tested themselves. Of the approximately 2,700 tests, there were 7 positive samples.
– The goal is to get started with systematic and regular testing in schools now after Easter. It will then be the municipalities with the highest infection pressure in school age that will be prioritized, Solberg said.
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