Norway to open borders to most neighbours

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Norway said it will reopen its borders on Monday to its neighbours with the exception of much of Sweden, which is still battling the coronavirus outbreak.

Oslo had already indicated it would reopen its frontiers to Denmark from Monday and will now extend the measure to Finland and Iceland.

Restrictions would be lifted on some parts of Sweden as well, but only "regions where the epidemic level is acceptable," Prime Minister Erna Solberg told reporters Friday.

That means only travellers from the southeastern Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea will be allowed to enter Norway without being quarantined.

Solberg said lifting travel restrictions still came with risks, despite many neighbouring countries having brought their outbreaks under control.

"Contamination from abroad represents a risk of resurgence here," she warned.

Oslo plans to reassess the epidemiological situation in the region every 14 days.

The European Commission this week appealed for the removal of virus-related within the European Union from Monday.

Norway is not an EU member but is a signatory of the Schengen agreement on border check-free travel across 26 European states.

From Monday, meanwhile, Oslo will allow public gatherings of up to 200 people from the current ceiling of 50 as long as people respect .

Swimming pools, gyms and aquatic centres will also be allowed to open their doors again.

Norway, which has limited its to 242, is now seeing only a handful of coronavirus cases a day.

Sweden in contrast has logged more than 4,600 deaths with dozens of new cases still emerging daily, after having controversially eschewed strict lockdown measures seen elsewhere in Europe.

© 2020 AFP

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