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Coronavirus LATEST: The number of people hospitalised in Norway now no lower than a week ago

Coronavirus LATEST: The number of people hospitalised in Norway now no lower than a week ago
Test sampling for the coronavirus in Oslo. Photo: Ole Berg-Rusten / NTB scanpix / TT
The fall in the number of people hospitalised with coronavirus in Norway appears to be flattening out with the same number in hospital on Tuesday as there were six days earlier.
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THE DATA 
 
According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, as of May 13:
  • 61 patients are in hospital with the coronavirus (up 2 from Tuesday) 
  • 15 patients are on ventilators (down 1 from Tuesday)
  • 229 people have died from coronavirus in Norway 
  • 8,158 have tested positive for the coronavirus (up 23 from Tuesday)
  • 208,874 people have been tested for coronavirus 

Here's a graph of the number of patients hospitalised issued by the Directorate of Health on Wednesday, May 13.

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THE NEWS: 
 
Tuesday April 21 
 
Children and young people in Norway were given the green light to restart a range of sports and free time activities, so long as they can find a way to stick to strict social distancing and hygiene guidelines. Culture minister Abid Raja told the NTB newswire on Monday afternoon that sports teams, choirs, marching bands, and other group activities for children and young people could now restart, although he stressed they should only take place “so long as the infection rules are upheld”.  
 
Monday April 20 
 
Norway began reopening pre-schools after a month-long closure. Many kindergartens opened on Monday, with others opening on Tuesday and then onward through the week. 
Children were banned from bringing toys from home, and had to bring their own pack lunches. Toys were rationed and had to be cleaned after each use by a group, but according to school leaders we interviewed the opening went well. 
 
 
Sunday April 19
 
The number of people being treated in hospital for the coronavirus in Norway has risen for the first time in more than a week. According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, as of April 19th, 153 patients are in hospital with the coronavirus, up 5 from Saturday. The last rise in hospital admissions was seen on 9th April, with two more patients in hospital than the day before.
 
The number of patients being treated for the coronavirus in Norway's hospitals has been steadily decreasing since the beginning of April. The only other rise has been between 4th and 6th April, when the number of infected patients admitted into hospital rose from 306 to 314.
 
As of April 19th, 154 people have died from coronavirus in Norway, up 6 from yesterday. 7,068 have tested positive for the coronavirus, up 84 from yesterday and 142,166 people have been tested for the coronavirus in Norway.
 
 
Saturday April 18
 
The number of patients hospitalised in Norway continues to fall.  According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, as of April 18th, 148 patients are in hospital with the coronavirus, down 17 from Friday. 148 people have died from coronavirus in Norway, up 11 from Friday. 6,984 have tested positive for the coronavirus, up 93 from yesterday and a total of 139,688 people have been tested for coronavirus in Norway.
 
 
Friday April 17
 
Number hospitalised in Norway falls by 6%. 
According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, as of April 17th, 165 patients are in hospital with the coronavirus (-6%).137 people have died from coronavirus in Norway, which is up 10 from yesterday. 6,891 people have tested positive for coronavirus, which is up by 100 from yesterday.
117,213 are either suspected or confirmed to have had coronavirus in Norway and 136,236 people have been tested for coronavirus.
 
Thursday April 16 
 
Norway's government on Thursday launched a specially designed app which it hopes will help track and trace coronavirus infections, making it easier to open up society. It hopes as many as half Norwegians will download the Smittestopp app. 
Norwegians who deliberately put themselves in a decision where they need to go into quarantine by travelling across hte border to Sweden may forfeit their wages or sick pay, according to new regulations submitted to the Ministry of Social Affairs and labour by the Directorate of Labour and Welfare (NAV). On Wednesday, NRK reported that 2,000 people had had to be quarantined after shopping trips to Sweden. 
 
Wednesday April 15 
 
The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training issued its guidelines for the reopening of Norway's schools and kindergartens next week. We will be updating our Q&A here.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Norwegian Prime Minister, has criticised US President Donald Trump for his decision to halt US funding for the World Health Organisation. “The last thing we need now is to attack the WHO,” said Brundtland, who headed the international health body from 1998 to 2003. Labour party leader Jonas Gahr Støre, who worked at the WHO under Brundtland, was more colourful: “It's like shutting down the fire station when there's a pyromaniac on the loose.” 
The cities of Oslo, Bergen Stavanger and Drammen all announced on Tuesday evening that they would cancel the vibrant and colourful children's parades planned for National Day on May 17. 
Norwegian concert and festival organisers are asking the government to ban festivals over the summer. Without a government ban the promoters will be left with huge financial liabilities. So far, evens have only been banned until June 15. 
 
Tuesday April 14
 
Oslo is to open the first of its kindergartens next Monday, with all the city's kindergartens open by the end of the week, city councillor Inga Marte Thorkildsen has told Norway's NTB news wire. 
The International Monetary Fund estimated that Norway's economy would shrink by 6.3 percent in 2020 and by 2.9 percent in 2021 as a result of the coronavirus crisis, as it compared the current global economic crisis to the Great Depression. 
Many Norwegians defied the ban on staying in their country cabins over Easter, according to a report by state broadcaster NRK. “It's been so bad that people are refusing to go to the shops,” Einar Holmer-Hoven, mayor of the holiday village of Lillesand told the broadcaster. 
 
The local councils of Lofoten and Vesterålen will no longer force people coming from southern Norway to enter quarantine, after council health officials decided that coronavirus was now spreading within the local population. 
 
Norwegian health minister Bent Høie has reiterated calls for everyone in Norway who can work from home to continue to do so, even after the country starts gradually opening up from next week.  “Many people think that things will be normal now after Easter, but this starts with a careful opening of kindergartens and the first years of school,” he said in an interview with NRK. “We want to avoid the most radical measures, but washing your hands, coughing into your elbow and keeping a distance are the kind of measures we must maintain.” 
 
Thursday April 9 
 
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health reported that there were 156 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours up until midnight on Tuesday, bringing the total in the country to 6,160. Norway has so far tested 121,034 people. 
 
Only 252 people were being treated in hospital, up slightly from 250 on Wednesday. The number of people requiring a ventilator has unchanged since Wednesday at 70
 
The institute reported that 88 people had died as of 8am on Thursday, with three new deaths over the preceding 24 hours.  
 
Norway's health authorities hopes to ramp up the country's already impressive testing regime by the start of May so that as many as 100,000 Norwegians can tested for coronavirus each week, Svein Lie, acting head of the Norwegian Directorate of Health has told the country's public broadcaster NRK.
 
Wednesday April 8 
 
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has published the advisory report which it submitted to the government on Sunday. The report advised the government to drop its 'zero vision' rhetoric and instead start preparing the public for a coronavirus peak which will require more than a thousand people to be treated in intensive care at the same time. The report was submitted just a day before Health Minister Bent Høie claimed the government had “brought the coronavirus infection under control.” Read our story here
 
Foreigners living in Norway are extremely uncomfortable at the decision to start lifting coronavirus restrictions, according to a survey by The Local. Many fear that the decision will lead to a surge in infections, put teachers at risk, and argued that it should not be done without more extensive testing. Read our story here.  
 
One in 100 Norwegian Somalis has tested positive for coronavirus.The same report found that one in every hundred Norwegian Somalis has tested positive for covid-19, while more than one in five of all coronavirus cases in the country were in people born outside Norway. Read our story here
 
Tuesday April 7 
 
Norway's government has announced plans to open kindergartens from April 20 in the first stage of a gradual lifting of the country's coronavirus lockdown.One week after kindergartens open, on April 27, pupils in their first four years of school (up until the age of eleven), will return to classes, with the higher grades also returning at some point before the summer, the government said. Read our story here
According to the coronavirus information note submitted to Norway's government on Sunday by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, no fewer than 21 percent of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Norway were born abroad, with Somali citizens the biggest group. More than one in every hundred Norwegian Somalis has been confirmed as having the disease. 
 

Monday April 6 
 
 
Norway's government said Monday it considered the coronavirus outbreak to be “under control” in the country. The government said the reproduction rate — the number of new people infected by each patient with the virus — had fallen to 0.7. That was down from 2.5 when containment measures, such as banning sports and cultural events and the closing of all educational institutions, were introduced in mid-March. “This means that we have brought the coronavirus infection under control,” Health Minister Bent Hoie told reporters. Read our story here
 
Oslo's councillor for schools has announced that the city plans to keep schools and kindergartens shut for at least the first week after Easter, whatever Norway's government rules on Wednesday. 
 
“We do not see that it is possible for us to open up in a safe way in the week after Easter,” Inga Marte Thorkildsen told state broadcaster NRK on Sunday. 
 
Friday April 3 
 
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has said that while some restrictions will be lifted after Easter, it will take much loneger before life can return to normal. “I don't think anyone should think that we should be able to reverse all this after Easter,” she told VG in a newspaper. “We need more time, but we must see if there is something we can solve a little after Easter. But it will take time before we can bring an end to what people may find the most demanding –  the distance we must have from each other so as not to spread the infection.” 
 
While schools and kindergartens will slowly reopen, she described busy pubs as “a little infection bombs”, saying it would be much longer before they returned to normal.
 
 
Thursday April 2 
 
Oslo Pride has cancelled this year's street parade, announcing plans to instead celebrate the city's gay, lesbian and transgender people with a virtual festival. Fredrik Dreyer, Chairman of Oslo Pride, said that in the current “frightening and unreal” situation, it was impossible to go ahead with the physical festival which had been due to take place between June 19 and June 28. Read our story here
 
Omar Gamal, an Oslo city councillor, has told the VG newspaper that he is worried that a growing proportion of those being hospitalised with coronavirus in the city come from immigrant communities. In Stockholm, six out of 18 people who died of the virus on one day last week were Somali. 
 
 
Norway's government has called for the country's schools and municipalities to stay open over Easter so that parents with “critical jobs” in healthcare and other fields can continue working, and so that socially vulnerable children can continue to be taken care of. 
 
“This will be a different Easter, and for many it will be a tougher time. Parents who work in critical social functions while others are free should be confident that their children are taken care of,” said education minister Guri Melby, according to VG.  
 
 
Wednesday April 1
 
The Director General of the Norwegian Directorate of Health has said he believes Norway is “well on the way to succeeding” in bringing coronavirus under control. 
 
“We do not know the extent to which we can beat this epidemic, but we are seeing quite a sharp decline in numbers if we compare with what we could have had if we had not taken these strong measures,” Bjørn Guldvog told Norway's state news broadcaster NRK. 
 
He said that the country believed it was closing to bringing the average number of new people each person with the virus infected down to one. 
 
“I think we are moving far down towards one,” he said. “I do not think we are there yet, but this is something our talented colleagues at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health are now modelling and they will deliver a report on Friday.” 

 
Justice Minister Monica Mæland has said that Norway's government has yet to take a decision on to what extent to allow the country's national day celebrations on May 17 to go ahead. “We know that this is a decision we have to take, but we want to know a little more first,” she said on Wednesday afternoon. 
 
Norway's ruling party has been rewarded for its tough actions to slow the spread of coronavirus, with a full five-point jump in the polls, according to the latest monthly report from the Norstat company. Read our story here
 
Norway has ordered 1,000 new emergency respirators from two local companies after they designed the devices in record time in a joint venture with a government agency.
 
The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, based in Kjeller outside Oslo, has been working together with the Stavanger-based Lærdal Medical and the Ski-based hydraulics company Servi to develop the breathing devices, which are designed to be easy to use by health staff with little prior training. Read our story here
 
Over 51,000 people in Norway have reported coronavirus-like symptoms on a web service launched by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health last week. But the institute suspects fewer than one in twenty have the disease. Read our story here.
 
Tuesday March 31
 
Norway's government has set up an expert group to evaluate fully or partially reopening schools and kindergartens after Easter, VG has reported.The group will make its recommendation on Friday, and has been mapping the role of children in spreading the virus. A report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health identified only five cases where a child had been the cause of an infection. 
 
Norway's government has agreed a new coronavirus economic support package with opposition parties, opening the way to a massive 20bn Norwegian kroner a month in support to companies hit by the lockdown. Read our story here.
 
Oslo University Hospital, Norway's largest hospital, has exempted 38 employees from quarantine to avoid suffering staff shortages, according to the Sykepleien nursing newspaper. According to the newspaper 136 employees at the hospital have so far tested positive for the virus, and 1295 have been quarantined. 
 
Monday March 30: 
 
Hospitals in Norway were on Monday tentatively reporting that the surge in coronavirus patients was starting to taper off, indicating that the tough measures the government brought in more than a fortnight ago are starting to work. Read our story here.
 
A 22-year-old in Norway has been arrested and hit with a 40,000 kroner ($3,800) fine after being caught breaking his coronavirus quarantine three times in five days. Read our story here
 

March 27: 
 
Norway's national health agency is launching an infection tracking app that will monitor the population's movements and then ask people to go into quarantine if they have been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus case. Read our story here
 

Norway's government has announced plans to spend up to 20bn Norwegian kroner a month ($2bn) cover the fixed costs of businesses whose revenues have plummeted as a result of the coronavirus lockdown. Read our story here
 
On Monday, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI), recommended that the Norwegian government consider following Finland's example “soon”, and reopening kindergartens and the first three years of elementary school, according to a report in the Dagens Næringsliv business paper. Read our story here
 

March 26: 
 
Norway's oil fund has recorded a paper loss of 1.3 trillion Norwegian kroner, a 16 percent fall in value, as a result of the coronavirus crisis. “These are special times,” the fund's outgoing chief Yngve Slyngstad said. The London-based hedge fund manager Nicolai Tangen was appointed on Thursday to take over from Slyngstad, who has been in the post since 2008. Read our story here
 
March 25: 
 
The Norwegian Directorate of Health issued a guidelines to hospitals on how to prioritise if there is a sudden influx of coronavirus patients. 
 
Among other changes, scheduled operations should be reduced only to the “absolutely necessary”, operations which require a respirator should, be “critically evaluated”, mass screening programs such as that for breast cancer should be suspended. 
 
Espen Nakstad, acting director general of the agency, said that the measures did not yet apply, as there is not yet a capacity shortage in Norwegian hospitals. 
 
“But we have to plan for a situation where the turnout will be greater than what one can handle,” he said. 
 
Norway's government has called on local authorities who have closed schools and kindergartens due to the coronavirus lockdown to make exceptions for “vulnerable children and youth”. Read our story here
 
New death from coronavirus in Norway brings total to 13. An elderly man who was the first patient to be admitted to hospital in Tromsø with coronavirus died on Tuesday night, the hospital announced on Twitter on Wednesday morning. 
 
 
Poland has blocked hundreds of thousands of bottles of alcohol gel sanitiser from being exported to Norway, demanding that the company instead send the product for use in Polish hospitals. Read our story here
 
March 24: 
 
Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced on Tuesday that the tough measures taken to slow the spread of coronavirus would remain in place for at least another fortnight.
 
At the same time, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, estimated that a maximum of about 23,000 people are currently infected, almost ten times the number of confirmed infections (2,556), but a fraction of the hundreds of thousands who might have been infected without the lockdown. Read our story here
 
Siv Jensen, leader of the opposition Progress Party, has told NRK the government should show “more flexibility” around Norway's coronavirus lockdown, in particular calling for another look at the ban on living in country cabins.  
 
Norway's education minister Guri Melby told NRK on Tuesday that she hoped schools would not be closed for too long. “The longer this measure persists, the worse it becomes for the most vulnerable,” she said. 
 
The local wings of The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) in Oslo, Bergen, Asker and Bærum, Slemmestad,  Sarpsborg, and Kristiansand have decided to cancel the traditional marches to avoid spreading coronavirus. 
 
Two elderly patients died on Monday, one at Haukeland University Hospital and the other in Tromsø, bringing the total number of deaths in the country due to coronavirus to twelve. 
 
Less than one in five people in Norway say that they have purchased extra food and other goods as a result of the coronavirus crisis, according to a new survey by Consumption Research Norway. Read our story here.
 
March 23: 
 
Health Minister says decision on whether to relax any lockdown measures will come on Tuesday
 
Health Minister Bent Høie on Monday told NRK that Norway's government would on Tuesday decide whether to relax some of the tough social distancing measures it brought in earlier this month, with some hoping schools will be reopened after Thursday. Read our story here
 
Coronavirus cases now “stable”: Health Directorate
 
The latest figures suggest that the tough actions taken by Norway's government are starting to slow the spread of coronavirus, Espen Rostrup Nakstad, Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Health told NRK, with the number of new cases a day now “stable” at 180-200 a day. 
 
March 22:
 
24,000 report coronavirus to new app
 
More than 24,000 people in Norway reported that they were suffering coronavirus symptoms after the health authorities released a new self-reporting app. Read our story here
 
March 21: 
 
Norwegian Olympic Committee calls on Tokyo Games to be postponed
 
The Norwegian Olympic Committee (NOC) said on Saturday they had asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo until the new coronavirus pandemic was under control.
 
March 20: 
 
Coronavirus crisis law hits trouble
 
The Norwegian government's coronavirus crisis law appears to have run into trouble, with Progress Party leader Siv Jensen, telling a press conference on Friday that she cannot support the law, according to VG
 
Socialist Left party leader Audun Lysbakken, and Labour Party leader Jonas Gahr Støre, have also waid they want changes if their parties are to back the law when it goes to vote in the Norwegian parliament on Saturday, according to Norwegian state broadcaster NRK.
 
Thank God it's Friday! Let's not party
 
Norway's Justice Minister Monica Mæland ended what must have been an exhausting week by begging her compatriots not to take advantage of good weather by meeting up and partying. 
 
“It's Friday, and many parts of the country have sun,” she said at a press briefing, according to NRK. “The weekend is coming, spring is coming, and normally the streets would be full of people. Some might want to take the first outing of the year, and some people might want to go to a party. But this is not the time to stop listening to our advice.” 
 
“It is important not to go out in crowds. It is important to get some air, but we must keep away from other people. The most important thing right now is to fight the infection, and that is something everyone has to contribute to. 
 
Norway central bank cuts rates to lowest level in 200 years
 
Norway's central bank cut its key policy rate to the lowest level in its 200-year history on Friday, to help balance the double blow of the coronavirus crisis and an oil price slump. Read our story here
 
Norway hospitals test coronavirus drugs 
 
Doctors at Norwegian have started testing the malaria medicine Hydroxychloroquine and the anti-viral drug Remdesivir on coronavirus patients in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
 
“Studies show that the medicine reduces the number of days you are ill. It does not completely cure you of Covid-19, but it reduces the complications of the disease,” Nina Skei, an anaesthesiologist at Levanger Hospital, told NRK
 
Norway frees prisoners to reduce coronavirus spread
 
The Norwegian Correctional Service announced that it has granted 126 inmates early release from prisons this week to reduce the risk of coronavirus infections, according to VG.  A further 73 inmates are scheduled to be released in the coming days. 
 
Norway government rescues airlines with 6bn NOK loan guarantee
 
Shares in Norwegian Air Shuttle shot up by 28 percent on Friday morning after Norway's parliament on Thursday agreed 6bn ( $550m) Norwegian kroner in loan guarantees for the country's airlines. Fully half of the emergency loan package, or 3bn NOK ($278m) has been allotted to Norwegian, 1.5bn NOK will go to SAS, and the remaining 1.5bn NOK will be shared between Widerøe and other, smaller airlines. Here's our report.