Norway lifts COVID restrictions after 561 days, leading to drunken bra…

Police in Norway reported dozens of disturbances and violent clashes including mass brawls in the Nordic country’s big cities after streets, bars, restaurants and nightclubs were filled with people celebrating the end of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Norwegian government abruptly announced last Friday that most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions would be scrapped and that life in the nation of 5.3 million would return to normal.

The move included the lifting of social distancing rules and capacity limits on businesses, in addition as the reopening of nightclubs.

The unexpected announcement by outgoing chief Minister Erna Solberg to drop coronavirus restrictions the next day took many Norwegians by surprise and led to disorganized scenes in the capital, Oslo, and in other places in the country.

An ambulance is called once reopening celebrations in Noway city Trondheim got out of hand. Credit:NTB

“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.”

More than 76 per cent of Norway’s population have received one vaccine measure, and nearly 70 per cent have had both shots, according to official figures.

Rowdy celebrations by hundreds of citizens across Norway started on 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 the minimum 50 fights and disturbances during the night. Neither vaccination position certificates nor negative test results are required to go into such venues in Norway.

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