Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced on Friday that all restrictions related to Covid-19 would end the next day at 4 p.m. local time. “It has been 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in peacetime in Norway. Now the time has come to get back to normal everyday life, ”she said. The announcement surprised many Norwegians.
But hours after the restrictions were lifted, police reported several rowdy celebrations in some of the Nordic nation’s major cities. The Norwegians’ celebrations, which started on Saturday afternoon and lasted until the early hours of Sunday, caused unrest in several locations, including the southern city of Bergen and the central city of Trondheim.
Reports said the situation was worse in Oslo, the capital. Police have received an alert about a man carrying a machete on a bus in Oslo.
“There was a much greater workload [on Saturday] only during the summer, ”Oslo police spokesman Rune Hekkelstrand told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK. “There were already a lot of people in the afternoon and it continued through the night. “
Ms. Solberg’s decision to abruptly lift the restrictions has been criticized. Oslo nightclub manager Johan Hoeeg Haanes told the local newspaper VG: “This is exactly what I predicted would happen. It was a potentially fatal situation in the city because they [the government] didn’t give us at least a few days notice.
He added that “it was a dangerous situation because the police said all places were crowded.”
Ms Solberg defended her decision, saying Norway would not have strict restrictions unless they are professionally justified. “People must be allowed to live as they wish,” she said, adding that health experts had backed her decision.
In Norway, neither vaccination status certificates nor Covid-19 test results are required to enter sites. Almost 70% of the 5.3 million inhabitants received the two injections of a Covid-19 vaccine. About 76 percent received at least one dose.
Denmark lifted its Covid-19 restrictions on September 10. Norway is the second country in the Nordic region to do the same.