Norway eyeing Stockholm threat ahead of royal visit

Norwegian officials are closely eyeing a terror threat to Stockholm and police are reportedly reconsidering the Norwegian Royal Family’s planned attendance at the Swedish king’s birthday party.

Norway eyeing Stockholm threat ahead of royal visit
File photo of police at Stockholm Central Station. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT / NTB scanpix
Norwegian police are evaluating the Norwegian Royal Family’s planned attendance at a 70th birthday celebration for Swedish King Carl Gustaf following a report that a group of Isis fighters are planning to attack civilian targets in Stockholm, according to broadcaster NRK. 
King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Märtha Louise and her husband Ari Behn are scheduled to attend Carl Gustaf’s weekend birthday celebrations in Stockholm. 
Neither the Swedish or Norwegian royals would comment on the security situation and directed questions to the police. 
On Tuesday it was reported that Sweden’s security service Säpo had received information indicating that a group of seven to eight Isis fighters have made their way to Sweden and are planning to strike against civilian targets in Stockholm.
Swedish newspaper Expressen speculated that the terror threat may have already been known on Monday, given the massive police presence when the Swedish royals attended a theatre performance in central Stockholm. 
The Swedish Royal Court declined to comment on Monday’s security situation. 
A spokesman for the Oslo Police told NRK that the district has been in contact with both Swedish and Norwegian authorities and would keep a close eye on the terror threat. 
After several news articles about the royals’ planned trip to Sweden, the police said that comments made about the security situation in Stockholm were meant generally and not in direct connection to the weekend celebrations. 
“We have not said that we are evaluating the royal family’s trip to Sweden,” the police wrote on its website following the initial reports. 
The Norwegian Royal Family is scheduled to participate in Swedish King Carl Gustaf’s birthday celebrations on Saturday and Sunday. Denmark will also be represented by Queen Margrethe, the Crown Prince Couple and Princess Benedicte. 


Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.