Norwegians hope to take next major step in relaxing Covid-19 curbs

Prime Minister Erna Solberg may move the country into phase three of its four-step plan

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg arrives for the NATO summit at the Alliance's headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, June 14, 2021. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS
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Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg is set to release details about reopening the country on Friday as the country attempts to ease out of coronavirus restrictions.

Ms Solberg has so far implemented the first two stages of a four-step plan to remove social and economic restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is not yet known whether she will move the country into phase three of the road to normality.
If the country does move into stage three, it should mean more international travel restrictions are relaxed, more people are allowed into events, and restrictions on selling alcohol are removed. It is likely that home working rules will remain, however.

During the pandemic, Norway has recorded 128,679 Covid-19 cases and 790 deaths.
The reopening plan is not tied to dates but Norwegian health officials are monitoring infection rates, health service capacity and vaccination progress.
In the past couple of weeks, Norway allowed inoculated citizens to enter the country without having to quarantine.
As the country reopens, environmental groups are trying to limit some of Norway's reliance on oil.
Six climate activists and two NGOs – Greenpeace and Young Friends of the Earth – have taken Norway to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), arguing that a plan to drill for oil in the Arctic is harming young people's futures.

Norway is Europe's second-largest oil and gas producer.
As the country looks to a post-pandemic world, the government can tap the world's largest sovereign wealth fund to boost the economy, and recent data suggests sentiment is rebounding as unemployment drops.
Norway's central bank is preparing a series of quarterly interest rate increases after the summer, a move that puts it ahead of most of the developed world in unwinding the crisis policies triggered by the pandemic.

Norges Bank will "most likely" raise rates in September, Governor Oystein Olsen said on Thursday.
The hawkish signal from Norway had been anticipated amid signs the richest Nordic economy is recovering faster than its peers.