COPENHAGEN, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Norway would postpone for a second time its final stage reopening plan for another two weeks out of concerns over the fast-spreading Delta variant of COVID-19, according to reports reaching here from Oslo on Wednesday.
"There is uncertainty about how the Delta variant will turn out in Norway," said Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Hoie at a press conference held in Oslo.
"The government has therefore chosen to follow the advice from the Norwegian Directorate of Health and Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and wait for step four in the reopening plan," said the minister.
On July 5, the Norwegian government also chose to postpone the reopening plan following advice from NIPH and the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
"The pandemic is not over," said Hoie, who referenced at the press conference the rise in new coronavirus cases in several European countries as influential to the decision.
The minister added that a new assessment will be made in mid-August.
According to NIPH statistics on Wednesday, a total of 1,617 new COVID-19 cases have been registered during the past week, bringing the country's total number of infections to 136,541, and total deaths to 799.
Norway's final stage reopening would have seen much of everyday life return to normal with the proviso that infection control measures remain in place including the requirements to keep a safe distance and stay at home if ill or in quarantine.
Nevertheless, the step four reopening plan would still limit restrictions for entry to Norway.