Norway to introduce vaccine certificates in June

News conference about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Oslo
Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Oslo, Norway September 3, 2020. Berit Roald/NTB Scanpix/via REUTERS/File Photo
  • First version of certificate planned for early June
  • Holders to be allowed admittance to public events in Norway
  • EU-compliant version for travel abroad expected late June

OSLO, May 5 (Reuters) - Norway will introduce verifiable vaccine certificates in early June, allowing holders to gain admittance to events held in Norway, with an updated, EU-compliant version to be rolled out in late June, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday.

Around a quarter of Norway's population have received a first dose and 6.8% have received two doses.

"We can use such a certificate to open our society more, and quicker," Solberg told a news conference.

Intially to be used primarily for larger public events, cruises and package tours, a later version of the certificate, planned to be rolled out in late June, will be in line with EU standards and is to be used for travel abroad, she added.

European countries, including Britain, are trying to work out a system of vaccine certificates, or "passports", but critics have said they will be hard to administer and could be discriminatory.

Denmark is one of the few countries to have a scheme working domestically, allowing entrance to many reopened facilities for those vaccinated, previously infected or who have had a negative test in the past 72 hours.

"We do not currently have a complete list of what we want to use such a certificate for, but it can be used both to make exceptions from infection control rules in our own country and to travel to other countries," Solberg said.

Earlier on Wednesday, local authorities in Oslo said shops and shopping centres would reopen from Thursday, while primary schools and kindergartens will lift some restrictions from Monday.

Non-EU Norway is not part of the European Union but is part of the single European market and of the Schengen travel zone.

Norway has had some of Europe's lowest rates of infections and deaths since the start of the pandemic, but imposed stricter measures after a rapid increase in hospitalisations in March triggered by more contagious variants.

Since then, infections have declined throughout April and May so far, raising hopes that a third wave has been brought under control.

Reporting by Victora Klesty, editing by Gwladys Fouche

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