Norway on Saturday announced the lifting of nearly all remaining COVID-19 measures, saying the virus no longer poses a major health threat to most people in the country.

Dutch BNO News said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a press conference: “Distance between us is no longer necessary. The meter is gone. We’re removing the general advice to keep your distance.”

He said the measures are being lifted as the omicron variant is showing less severe symptoms and most Norwegians are protected by vaccines.

Saying that those showing symptoms should still get tested, Stoere said some measures remain in effect in the arctic Svalbard Islands, where healthcare services are limited.

“New waves of infection may occur. The virus can mutate again,” he said, adding: “But today we can go out and be together without being afraid of getting too close to each other.”

Since December 2019, the virus has claimed over 5.80 million lives in at least 192 countries and regions, with more than 409 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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