Five injured in Stavanger workshop blast

Firefighters were seeking on Monday morning to control a blaze near Stavanger in south-western Norway after an explosion at a mechanical workshop left five people seriously injured and the smell of ammonia gas lingering in the air.

There have been no reports of any deaths at the Malm Orstad premises, located beside the regional milking plant of dairy producers Tine.

“It was chaos there,” witness Magnar Larsen told VG Nett.

“Some were in shock, while others ran around screaming.”

The mid-morning fire hit the mechanical parts factory for a key supplier to Norway’s oil and gas industry, much of which is headquartered in Stavanger.

The company’s web site suggests a new welding machine had just been in “full swing” and an order had come in for the offshore oilfield Katla.

Apart from welding, which uses the explosive gas acetylene, the company also fabricates a wealth of specialist equipment and parts for energy companies and their suppliers.

According to local newspaper Stavanger Aftenbladet, Malm Orstad staff were testing equipment when the explosion occurred.

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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Find out what’s going on in Norway on Friday with The Local’s short roundup of important news. 

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Oslo Operahus. Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Free trade agreement between Norway and the UK expected to be announced

A post-Brexit free trade agreement will be announced between the UK and Norway, state broadcaster NRK have reported. 

Negotiations between the two countries have been ongoing since last summer, and there had been a deadline of June 18th to agree on a deal. 

According to the broadcaster, the arrangement would see Norway have greater access to sell its seafood in the UK, while the UK would have better access to sell agricultural products like cheese. 

READ ALSO: Norway fails to agree fishing quota deal with United Kingdom 

We will have all the details covered in full when the agreement is announced. 

Hundreds evacuated and firefighters injured in forest fire 

Around 500 people have been evacuated, and several firefighters have received minor injuries fighting a large forest fire in Sotra, just west of Bergen. 

The fire broke out on Thursday morning, and firefighters at the scene said on Friday that the blaze was still not fully under control. 

Around 150 fire crews from ten fire stations were working to fight the flames. 

The fire has claimed at least two houses. A total of ten people have been treated for injuries 

Those that were evacuated have been moved to a campsite.

Government press conference

There will be a government press conference on the coronavirus situation this afternoon. 

Minister of Health Bent Høie and Minister of Justice Monica Mæland will be at the conference. Espen Nakstad and Line Vold, will also be in attendance.

We will cover all the details for you in an article later.

Quarantine hotels to continue until after the summer 

Quarantine hotels will likely remain in place until after the summer, according to the Health Director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, Bjørn Guldvog. 

“I think it is right that some will still need quarantine hotels over the summer. And maybe after that too, for travellers from certain areas,” he told Norwegian radio station P4

There have been a few significant changes to the quarantine hotel rules recently, with travellers from certain countries now being exempt from entering the hotels and those who have received their vaccine in Norway able to quarantine at home instead also

However, Guldvog believes the scheme will remain in place for the foreseeable future due to the risk of new variants. 

In the government’s revised budget for 2021, it was revealed that funding for the hotels would continue until November at least. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Norway’s revised budget means for you 

289 new Covid-19 infections

On Thursday, 289 coronavirus cases were registered in Norway, a decrease of 35 on the seven-day average. 

In Oslo, 93 cases of infection were recorded, 24 more than the seven-day average of 69. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 1.0. This means that every ten people that are infected will, on average, only infect another ten people, indicating that the infection level is stable.

Number of reported Covid cases. Source: NIPH