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Nobel Peace Prize winners exempted from Norway quarantine

World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley reacts as he speaks to the press during his stopover in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso October 9, 2020. REUTERS/Anne Mimault TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway will exempt United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) delegates from coronavirus quarantine when they arrive next month to receive this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, ensuring that the live ceremony can go ahead, the government said on Tuesday.

The WFP, which has coordinated medical logistics during the pandemic, was named winner of the prestigious award last month in what its boss said was a call to action that no one should go hungry in the world today.

The Nordic country currently imposes a 10-day quarantine on almost all arrivals from abroad, but the 15-20 members of the WFP will be allowed to skip the strictly enforced measure if they test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival.

The exemption was granted following an application from the Norwegian Nobel Institute, home to the independent committee that awards the 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.16 million) prize, which also brings significant global attention for the winners.

“The award attracts significant national and international attention. We want to facilitate it so that the winners can be physically present,” Norway’s Health Minister Bent Hoeie said in a statement.

The Rome-based WFP says it helps some 97 million people in about 88 countries each year, and that one in nine people worldwide still do not have enough to eat.

It also runs a logistics service that has dispatched medical cargoes to over 120 countries throughout the pandemic to help governments and health partners fighting COVID-19.

The remaining Nobel awards - for medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics - which are traditionally handed out in Stockholm, have been moved online this year due to the pandemic.

The ceremonies are held every year on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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