Norway is dropping all remaining restrictions against COVID-19, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere announced on Saturday, saying coronavirus no longer poses a major health threat to most people.
“This is the day we’ve been waiting for,” Stoere said at a press conference on Saturday morning. “Distance between us is no longer necessary. The meter is gone. We’re removing the general advice to keep your distance.”
Many of Norway’s restrictions were dropped at the beginning of February, but some measures – including masks – remained. Stoere said dropping them was justified because the Omicron variant causes less severe disease and because many people are protected by vaccines.
“The consequences of the measures have become more negative than the consequences of the infection,” the prime minister said. He said people who develop symptoms should still get tested, and some measures remain in effect in Svalbard, where health services are limited.
Stoere added that, even though all restrictions have been lifted on mainland Norway, it doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over.
“New waves of infection may occur. The virus can mutate again,” he said. “But today we can go out and be together without being afraid of getting too close to each other. It’s a good feeling and a nice start to this weekend.”