Speaking on Wednesday, Health Minister Bent Hoeie told a news conference that the end of lockdown would be postponed for a second time. “A new assessment will be made in mid-August,” Hoeie stated.
Striking a rather pessimistic tone, the minister told reporters that “the pandemic is not over” and “we will never get rid of this virus,” according to local news agencies.
Citing examples from the UK and the Netherlands, both of which have higher rates of vaccination, he noted that the Delta variant is clearly an issue which Norway will have to deal with eventually.
Hoeie said the government was therefore following the advice of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and would not implement “step four” of the state’s reopening plan.
As a result, the last of the country’s lockdown measures will remain in place, including limits on private gatherings in homes to 20 people. Restaurants are also limited to table service only.
On July 5, the government elected not to move forward with plans to end the lockdown, once again citing concerns about the Delta variant.