Belgium, Nepal to end virus restrictions

Authorities in Belgium and Nepal have announced an end to pandemic restrictions while coronavirus measures wind down in many parts of the United States.

Belgium will remove almost all its coronavirus restrictions from Monday, ending a requirement to wear masks in most places and scrapping the need to show a COVID-19 pass for indoor venues from cafes to sports halls.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that the major easing of measures has come almost exactly two years since the pandemic first struck the country.

"I think it is an important page that we are turning. It is a symbol principally of our resilience and perseverance faced with a pandemic that gave us little chance to rest," he told a news conference.

From Monday, Belgians wanting to dine in a restaurant, drink in a bar or visit a museum or cinema will no longer need to show a COVID-19 pass, proving vaccination, recent recovery from infection or a negative test.

The move mirrors a change planned in neighbouring France for March 14.

Masks, currently required for most indoor venues, will only be mandatory on public transport and in hospitals and care homes.

Capacity limits on indoor venues will also be lifted.

Belgians returning from travel to other European Union countries or non-EU countries with the pandemic under control would also no longer be required to fill in special COVID-19 forms.