Norway to end most pandemic curbs

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A man wearing a protective mask carries shopping bags as he walks on the streets of Oslo following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Oslo, Norway March 13, 2020. NTB Scanpix/Hakon Mosvold Larsen via REUTERS/File Photo

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OSLO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Norway will scrap nearly all its remaining COVID-19 lockdown measures as high levels of coronavirus infections are unlikely to jeopardise health services, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said on Saturday.

The Nordic country, which removed most curbs on Feb. 1, will still keep some restrictions for the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. The new rules will take effect from Saturday at 1000 CET (0900 GMT). read more

"We are removing almost all coronavirus measures," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.

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"The coronavirus pandemic is no longer a major health threat to most of us. The omicron virus causes far less serious illness and we are well protected by vaccines."

Norwegians will no longer need to stay at least one metre (3 feet) apart nor wear face masks in crowded settings. The removal of these measures mean nightclubs and other affected entertainment venues can resume full business.

In addition, infected individuals no longer need to isolate themselves. Instead, they are recommended to stay home for four days.

Travellers to Norway will no longer need to register their arrivals ahead of time and the government is also scrapping the previous requirement for proof of a negative test before departure for some visitors, such as unvaccinated people.

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

Visitors to Svalbard, where health services are limited, must continue to test before and after arrival, while international charter flights to the archipelago remain suspended, the government said.

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Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; editing by Nora Buli

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