OSLO (Reuters) - Norway will allow most amateur team sports to resume in mid-October and permit larger crowds at matches, as the government looks to ease nationwide restrictions enforced to contain the coronavirus epidemic.
The changes will take effect on Oct. 12, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday, while warning that localised spikes in COVID-19 infections might require tighter restrictions on movement in some parts of the country.
Norway went into a national lockdown in mid-March and quickly saw a sharp fall in new cases that led to a gradual easing of restrictions from May. But cases have risen again, notably in Oslo and some other regions, in the past two months.
"Quick and efficient measures to stop local outbreaks is a condition for us to gradually ease the corona restrictions," Solberg told a news conference.
Under the changes to sports events, lower-division football, handball, basketball and ice hockey will resume, and the maximum crowds at outdoors matches will rise to 600 from 200, she said.
Most bars will now be allowed to sell alcohol beyond midnight.
Norway, with a population of 5.4 million, reported 679 coronavirus cases last week, according to the Institute of Public Health (FHI). Overall as of Tuesday, it has recorded 13,788 cases and 274 coronavirus-linked deaths.
Oslo has registered 626 infections in the past two weeks according to the city government website, equivalent to around 90 per 100,000 inhabitants.
(Reporting by Victoria Klesty; editing by John Stonestreet)