Following a surprise declaration from the prime minister, Norwegians were celebrating the end of COVID restrictions over the weekend.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health FHI announced last week that they had taken the decision to classify Covid-19 as a respiratory disease that is no more dangerous than the common flu.
The announcement by outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg that most coronavirus restrictions would be coming to an end on Saturday, prompted scores of people to take to the streets.
“We shall not have strict measures unless they are professionally justified. People must be allowed to live as they wish,” Solberg told reporters on Saturday.
According to The Associated Press The unexpected announcement took many Norwegians by surprise and led to chaotic scenes in the capital, Oslo, and elsewhere in the country.
“It has been 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime,” Solberg said on Friday at a news conference. “Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life.”
Rowdy celebrations by hundreds of citizens across Norway started Saturday afternoon and lasted until the early hours of Sunday. Police said unrest was reported in several places, including in the southern city of Bergen and the central city of Trondheim, but the situation was the worst in Oslo.
Long lines were seen outside Oslo’s nightclubs, bars and restaurants late Saturday and police registered at least 50 fights and disturbances during the night. Neither vaccination status certificates nor negative test results are required to enter such venues in Norway.