Saturday. 25.03.2023

Denmark and Norway further ease coronavirus restrictions

Danish museums, amusement parks and cinemas will be allowed to reopen from 8 June. Shopping malls will also return to work in the coming weeks, Government said. In Norway, bars and amusement parks could reopen on 1 June.
Yellow stripe is painted in the middle of a pedestrian street to help people comply with the social distance guidelines related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in Aalborg, Denmark May 4, 2020. Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS
Yellow stripe painted in the middle of a street to help people comply with social distance in Aalborg, Denmark. Photo: Henning Bagger/Reuters.

Finland is not the only one among the Nordic countries that has decided to ease the restrictions stemming from the pandemic. Denmark and Norway are also moving towards a greater reopening of their public spaces and businesses.

Danish museums, amusement parks and cinemas will be allowed to reopen from 8 June, the government said on Friday, after it struck a deal with parliament on how restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 could be eased further.

In the third phase of its reopening plan, Denmark will also increase the maximum number of people allowed to meet in public to between 30 and 50, up from a 10-person limit, it said.

Danish shopping malls, schools for the oldest students and restaurants will be allowed to reopen in the coming weeks said the government late on Thursday as it enters the second phase of reopening after curbing the spread of the virus.

The third reopening phase would only take place if the number of infected and hospitalisations did not "increase more than expected," a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.

Night clubs, music venues and gyms would remain shut until the fourth phase of the reopening which is expected to start by the beginning of August, it added.

Denmark was among the first countries to restrict public gatherings and close schools, restaurants and bars in a lockdown that quickly helped curb the spread of the virus, meaning it was also one of the first European countries to open up again.

So far, 10,083 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Denmark, a country of 5.8 million people, and 514 have died of the disease, according to data from health authorities.

Norway moves towards reopening

Norway also aims to reopen by mid-June most of the public and private institutions that have been closed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Thursday.

The Nordic country was one of the first in Europe to curb activities to rein in the spread of the novel coronavirus, on March 12, and to relax some restrictions once it got the outbreak under control, in late April.

"Thanks to our common efforts since March, we have brought the contamination under control," Solberg told a news conference. "We can therefore, over time, lighten the toughest measures."

Kindergartens reopened on April 20, primary schools from first to fourth grade on April 27, but middle schools and high schools have remained closed. They will now resume from Monday.

The government also aims to allow the Norwegian football league to resume on June 16 and planned events with up to 200 participants one day earlier.

Bars and amusement parks could reopen on June 1, while private gatherings of 20 people, rather than five, will be allowed on Thursday.

"We are now in a control phase (of the outbreak)," said Solberg.

Some 7,995 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, up 37 on the previous day. Some 209 people have died of the disease so far.

Foreigners without the right to live or work in the country - tourists, for instance - are still not allowed to enter the country.

But foreigners working in sectors considered crucial, such as agriculture, fisheries or the oil industry, can come in the country though they still have to submit to a 14-day quarantine.

Denmark and Norway further ease coronavirus restrictions