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Norway announces to end most restrictions despite COVID spike

OSLO: Norway will scrap most of its remaining COVID-19 lockdown measures with immediate effect as a spike in coronavirus infections is unlikely to jeopardise health services, the prime minister said on Tuesday.

Restaurants will again be allowed to serve alcohol beyond 11 o’clock at night, working from home will no longer be mandatory and the limit of 10 visitors in private homes will be removed, Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.

“Even if many more people are becoming infected, there are fewer who are hospitalised. We’re well protected by vaccines. This means that we can relax many measures even as infections are rising rapidly,” Stoere said.

The announcement follows similar decisions by neighbouring Denmark and other European countries including Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands, which have eased or removed restrictions in recent weeks. read more

Norway in December went into partial lockdown to combat the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant.

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While lifting most restrictions, the country will keep basic social distancing measures, asking people to stay at least one metre apart and to wear a face mask in crowded settings, thus still hampering businesses such as nightclubs and some entertainment venues.

The easing is expected to lead to an even faster spread of the virus, and the government will continue to monitor the situation.

“We don’t know if this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” Stoere said, adding that future tightening was possible.

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