Norway on Saturday lifted its final Covid restrictions, scrapping social distancing and masks in crowded spaces despite a surge in Omicron infections.
“The metre is disappearing. We are taking away the recommendation on social distancing,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told reporters at a press conference.
“Now we can now socialise like we did before, in nightlife, at cultural events and other social occasions. And on the way to and from work on buses, trains and ferries,” he said.
Norway lifted most of its other Covid curbs earlier this month, including remote working, crowd size limits and restricted alcohol sales in bars and restaurants.
The requirement to isolate for four days after a positive Covid test was meanwhile on Saturday downgraded to a recommendation, and children with respiratory symptoms are no longer required to get tested for Covid.
Gahr Store stressed however that “the pandemic is not over”, and advised unvaccinated people and those in risk groups to continue practising social distancing and wear masks where social distancing is not possible.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) said the country had yet to see the peak of the Omicron surge, but it was expected soon.
The agency’s director Camilla Stoltenberg told reporters the number of Covid hospitalisations had risen by 40 percent in the past week.
As of Friday, 986,851 cases and 1,440 virus-related deaths had been recorded in Norway, where more than 91 percent of the population has received at least two doses of the vaccine.
FHI estimates that three to four million people from a population of 5.4 million may be infected by this summer.