No alcohol after midnight: these are Norway’s new measures against coronavirus

A national ban on serving alcohol after midnight is among measures to be introduced by Norway’s government to slow the spread of coronavirus.

No alcohol after midnight: these are Norway’s new measures against coronavirus
Photo: Izhak Agency on Unsplash

The government is taking several steps to slow down the reopening of society, health minister Bent Høie confirmed at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

The measures include a national ban on serving alcohol after midnight. The ban comes into effect on August 8th.

A limit of 200 people for attendance at events has been retained.

“We have said that we will open society gradually, together and in a controlled manner. Recent times have seen an increase in infections in society. In order to maintain control, we must therefore put the brakes on further reopening and implement new measures,” Høie said in a statement reported by Norwegian media including N24.

The week commencing July 27th saw 196 new coronavirus infections in Norway, compared with 94 the previous week. The country's health authorities update latest figures in weekly reports.

The decision was “in line with the recommendations of the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health”, he added.

“We are doing this so that we can keep kindergartens and schools, nursing homes and workplaces open,” he said.

Further assessment of the situation will be made by the government in early September.

The government is also recommending working from home two to three days a week possible, in an effort to reduce rush hour traffic on public transport.

“We encourage everyone who can to walk or cycle to work and school. Employers must facilitate this so that half as many people are using public transport, and state and municipal employers should lead by example,” Høie said.

A general recommendation to avoid travel abroad – including to countries designated ‘green’ by the foreign ministry due to low recent infection rates – was also confirmed at the Friday afternoon briefing.

Health authorities are planning to open Covid-19 test centres at border crossings, airports and ports, and travellers arriving from ‘red’ countries must wear face masks when they arrive in Norway.

Face masks are also recommended for people on their way to home quarantine if there is a risk they will meet others.

Although further recommendations for face masks are yet to be made, Høie said the Norwegian public could expect an update soon in this regard.


The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is now assessing whether to advice face masks in specified situations.

“We are waiting for a good, medical assessment before we move forward with the question of using face masks in various situations. The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health will create campaigns on correct use and look at how we will ensure face masks are widely available. More detailed advice will come on August 14th,” Høie said.

“But we are saying today that people must be prepared for forthcoming recommendations on the use of face masks during rush hour on public transport,” he added.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: MAP: Which countries are open for tourism to and from Norway?

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New Covid-19 wave in Sweden ‘to peak at end of September’

Sweden's Public Health Agency has warned of a new autumn wave of Covid-19 which it expects to peak at the end of September.

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden 'to peak at end of September'

According to both of the two new scenarios published by the agency on Monday, infection rates are set to rise steadily over the next month, something the agency said was due to a falling immunity in the population and greater contact between people as they return to schools and workplaces after the summer. 

“It is difficult to say how high the peak will be, but it is unlikely that it will reach the same levels as in January and February,” the agency’s unit chief Sara Byfors said in a press release. “The most important thing is that people in risk groups and those who are 65 years old and above get vaccinated with a booster dose in the autumn to reduce the risk of serious illness and death.” 

Under Scenario 0, the amount of contact between people stays at current levels, leading to a peak in reported Covid-19 cases at around 5,000 a day. In Scenario 1, contact between people increases by about 10 percent from the middle of August, leading to a higher peak of about 7,000 reported cases a day. 

The agency said that employers should be prepared for many staff to be off sick simultaneously at points over the next month, but said in its release that it did not judge the situation to be sufficiently serious to require either it or the government to impose additional infection control measures. 

It was important, however, it said, that those managing health and elderly care continued to test those with symptoms and to track the chain of infections, that people go and get the booster doses when they are supposed to have under the vaccination programme, and that those who have symptoms of Covid-19 stay home.