Norwegians took to the streets over the weekend to celebrate an end to the country’s CCP virus restrictions after government-imposed measures limited people’s social interactions for about 18 months.
The Norwegian government announced on Sept. 24 that most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions would be scrapped beginning on Sept. 25, and that life in the nation of 5.3 million would return to normal.
“It has been 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime,” outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at a news conference.
“Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life.”
Norway will no longer require businesses to implement social distancing measures, and it will also allow sports and cultural venues as well as restaurants to use their full capacity, the prime minister’s office said. Nightclubs can also reopen under the new guidelines.
The virus can now be considered as one of several respiratory illnesses with seasonal variation, said Geir Bukholm, the assistant director for the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, according to local media. In Norway, COVID-19 has been classified as a generally dangerous disease, but the official classification could change soon, he said.
“We are now in a new phase where we must look at the coronavirus as one of several respiratory diseases with seasonal variation,” Bukholm told news outlet VG, referring to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Rowdy celebrations in the Nordic European nation erupted on Sept. 25, with thousands of citizens across Norway taking to the streets and partying until the early hours of Sept. 26.
“There was a significantly greater workload than during the summer. There were a lot of people out already in the afternoon and it continued during the night,” Rune Hekkelstrand, a police spokesman in Oslo, the capital of Norway, told the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.
Police said they responded to dozens of reports of unrest and violent clashes in the country’s major cities after streets, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs were filled with people celebrating the end of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus restrictions.
People out on the streets to celebrate the end of the COVID-19 restrictions, in Oslo, on Sept. 25, 2021. (Naina Helen Jama/NTB via AP)
Solberg justified the move to reopen society by saying that Norwegian health experts had supported the decision.
“We shall not have strict (coronavirus) measures unless they are professionally justified. People must be allowed to live as they wish,” Solberg told Norwegian newspaper VG late Saturday.
According to the Norwegian Institute for Public Health, about 67 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
Norway is the second country in the Nordic region to lift COVID-19 restrictions after Denmark did so on Sept. 10.
Nearby Sweden also announced earlier this month it will remove most of its COVID-19 restrictions on Sept. 29.