UPDATED: Norway to speed up COVID-19 vaccination, ends some COVID restrictions

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Norway will get access to one million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks, allowing the country to speed up its immunisation programme, the government said on Friday.

“With this delivery, adults above the age of 18 will be able to complete their vaccination during the first two weeks of September,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Norway’s government will end some restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it said on Friday, but stopped short of announcing a full reopening of the economy.

“We will open up where we can, and hold back where we must,” Health Minister Bent Hoeie told a news conference.

The government in April launched a four-step plan to gradually remove most pandemic restrictions, and had completed the first three of those steps by mid-June.

It had been set to introduce the fourth step in its reopening plan last month, but twice postponed the decision because of concerns about the Delta coronavirus variant.

While some measures will now be relaxed, allowing universities to proceed with in-person teaching for instance, other restrictions will remain until early September, Hoeie said.

Measures that will be kept in place to halt the spread of COVID-19 include bars and restaurants being limited to table service, limits of 20 people on gatherings in private homes, and restrictions on adult recreational sports.

Photo: A woman is sitting alone in the train compartment with face mask at the National Theater station, in Olso, Norway. EPA-EFE/Ole Berg-Rusten