Norway to lift last national Covid measures two weeks earlier than planned

An extra shipment of Covid-19 vaccines means Norway will scrap the last remaining national coronavirus restrictions two weeks earlier than previously anticipated, the government announced on Friday.

Norway to lift last national Covid measures two weeks earlier than planned
A boost to Norway's vaccine program means it is planning on lifting measures earlier than planned. Photo by Steven Lasry on Unsplash

As a result of EU cooperation, Norway will have access to one million extra Moderna Covid vaccines, meaning it is now planning on lifting the final restrictions in the first half of September.

On Friday, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) estimated that everybody would be offered their second jab by September 5th and be fully vaccinated by September 12th as a result of the extra Moderna doses. 

The extra jabs will come from Poland, which no longer needs them. The one million more shots than anticipated is in addition to the 358,000 additional coronavirus vaccines Norway has received from Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania.

The doses were secured through the EU’s joint procurement scheme.

The vaccines will arrive from the beginning of next week and will be rolled out to municipalities from the week beginning August 23rd.

Earlier this week, the Norwegian government said it would ditch the last remaining national measures at the end of September. This was when they expected everyone over 18 to be fully vaccinated.

READ MORE: Norway sets rough date for end of national Covid measures

Due to the significant boost the unwanted doses from Poland will provide to the Norwegian vaccination programme, the government is now expecting that it will be able to lift the last few national measures around two weeks earlier.

“With this delivery, all adults over the age of 18 will be fully vaccinated during the first two weeks of September. This means that Norway can return to a more normal everyday life more quickly,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a statement.

So far, just under 90 percent of those over 18 have received their first vaccine, and just over 50 percent have received their final jab, according to the NIPH’s latest figures.

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Norway ‘enters new Covid wave’ as minister issues warning

Norway is at the beginning of a new wave of Covid-19, according to the latest report from the Norwegian Insitute of Public Health. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Minister of Health has said measures could return if hospitals are overrun.

Norway 'enters new Covid wave' as minister issues warning

The spread of coronavirus infection in Norway is increasing, and the number of deaths and hospitalisations is on the up, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) writes in its latest assessment of the virus in Norway. 

It added that the increase in Covid was likely the beginning of a new wave of the disease. 

“It is uncertain how big this wave will be, but it is likely that a winter wave with the variants we know now (about) will not put a significantly greater burden on hospitals than the summer wave in 2022 did,” the NIPH said in the report. 

Over the last week weeks, 316 people in Norway have been hospitalised with the coronavirus. 

Norwegian Minister of Health and Social Care, Ingvild Kjerkol, said that the government would bring back Covid-19 measures if hospitals became overrun with the virus. 

“We have plans to be able to step up measures, if necessary,” Kjerkol told Norwegian newswire NTB on Wednesday.

 “What we are particularly watching now is whether we get several epidemics at the same time, i.e. a tough season with, for example, winter flu and increased corona infection,” Kjerkol added. 

Earlier this week, Assistant Health Director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, Espen Rostrup Nakstad, said that a new Covid-19 Omicron variant, which may be more resistant to vaccines, had begun to spread.