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

Find out what’s going on in Norway on Monday with the Local’s short roundup of important news in less than five minutes.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Lofoten, northern Norway. Photo by John O'Nolan on Unsplash

Health authorities investigate whether pericarditis is linked to the Pfizer and Moderna Coronavirus vaccines

The Norwegian Medicines Agency (NMA) was looking into whether cases of pericarditis, the swelling of the tissue that surrounds the heart, are linked to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Seven cases of acute pericarditis, symptoms include sharp chest pain, have been reported so far as suspected side effects to the vaccines.

Six of the cases occurred between one and three weeks after taking the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine and the other case occurred within the same time frame after receiving a dose of the Moderna vaccine, newspaper Bergens Tidende is reporting.

READ ALSO: Norway considers lifting measures for people who have had their first Covid vaccine 

The patients were all aged between 28 and 87 years old, six men and one woman.

They were hospitalised with a combination of heavy breathing, chest pain and pain in the shoulders.

Steiner Madsen, medical director at the NMA, said that it is too soon to say whether the cases can be directly linked to the vaccines.

He also added there is no need for people to worry.

While pericarditis is painful it is easy to treat, however in some cases it can be serious, according to helsenorge.

Norway’s largest financial group slapped with 400 million kroner fine

DNB has received a 400 million kroner fine following an audit.

The audit was conducted by The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway in February last year.

The audit investigated DNB’s compliance with money laundering regulations.

“The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway’s investigation shows that DNB has had extensive shortcomings in compliance with money laundering regulations over many years,” the audit found.

DNB is not suspected of being complicit of compliant with money laundering, instead the verdict regards whether money laundering regulations were followed in its dealings with various companies across the Samherji group. 

DNB has accepted the fine and said that it takes the verdict very seriously.

“The fight against money laundering is at the very top of the board’s priority list. The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway is right that we have areas we need to improve on, but we have also made major improvements in recent years,” DNB said.

Only half of foreigners arriving in Norway respond to infection trackers calls

Around half of all foreign arrivals respond to The National Control Centre for Immigrants, which is responsible for contacting everyone who arrives in Norway, state broadcaster NRK is reporting.

The centre is responsible for checking arrivals in Norway adhere to testing and quarantine rules.

However, only half of the 150,000 arrivals have responded to the centres calls since February.

Everyone who arrives in Norway also receives two text messages from authorities. So far 360,000 messages have been sent.

Assistant Director of Health at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, Espen Nakstad, said that the amount of people interacting with the control centre is a positive.

“Half respond, and the authorities make sure they are well informed. The rest receive text messages, so they are informed. You’d probably want to get even more people, but half is better than nothing,” he said.

Married couple who refused to enter a quarantine hotel after trip to Spain fined 20,000 kroner

A husband and wife in their 60’s have been fined 20,000 kroner each after refusing to enter a quarantine hotel.

Current restrictions mean anybody returning from a trip that isn’t deemed necessary must spend at least seven of a ten-day quarantine period in a quarantine hotel.

“The trip was not considered a necessary trip, and both were supposed to follow the rules and spend ten days in a quarantine hotel. The couple refused to cooperate and have now been fined,” police said in a statement.

Covid-19 infection rates fall 11 percent

In the last week, the number of registered Coronavirus infections fell 11 percent last week, compared to the week before.

Two weeks ago, 3,209 infections were registered compared to 2,857 last week. The average number of daily cases has dropped from 443 to 408.

In Oslo infections fell 13.4 percent in the same time period. The number of infections has fallen from 912 cases two weeks ago to 790.

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EXPLAINED: What Oslo’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions means for you

Most, but not all, of the Norwegian capital's local Covid restrictions have been lifted to fall in line with national coronavirus rules, with new limits on guests at home and new guidance on face masks. Here’s a rundown of what the latest restrictions mean for you.

EXPLAINED: What Oslo's easing of Covid-19 restrictions means for you
Oslo's skyline. Photo by Oscar Daniel Rangel on Unsplash

Covid-19 measures in Oslo have been relaxed, with the majority of local restrictions being replaced with the looser national rules.

The new rules are a mix of steps three and four of the city’s five-step reopening plan and were introduced after the lowest infection numbers since last autumn were recorded in Oslo last week. 

Last week, 239 coronavirus infections were registered in the Norwegian capital. 

“The gradual, controlled opening of Oslo has been a success. Many of the rules that the people of Oslo have been expected to live with are now being removed, and we will essentially live with the same corona rules as people elsewhere in Norway,” Oslo’s Executive Mayor Raymond Johansen said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Not all local restrictions have been lifted however, meaning there are a mix of local and national rules in place. 

Below we’ll take a look at how the measures will affect everyday life in Oslo. 

At home 

The significant change here is that the ban on having more than ten people gathered at home has been lifted completely. Instead, this will be replaced with the national recommendation not to have more than guests. 

So while it will not be recommended to have more than ten guests, it’s not an enforceable rule anymore. 

READ MORE: What happens if you get caught breaking the Covid-19 rules in Norway

Shopping 

The local rules for shopping malls and stores have been tweaked too. There will no longer be any rule that makes face masks mandatory in shops. In addition to this, the official social distancing measure has been halved, to one metre, and the limit on the number of people allowed in shops has been scrapped. 

However, it’s worth noting that some shops may wish to keep some infection control measures in place if they feel it helps keep staff and shoppers safe, so it may be worth bringing a mask along on your next trip to the shops just in case.

Face masks  

The rule on mandatory face masks in public has also been given the axe, with two exceptions. 

You will still need one if you are taking public transport or taking a taxi. 

Masks will no longer be needed in shops, gyms, museums and galleries, indoor swimming pools, spa facilities and hotel facilities such as pools and dining areas. 

Although, some places may still wish to continue with a mask policy, so always remember to have one handy to be sure. 

Hospitality 

At indoor public places, such as restaurants, 50 people are allowed in venues without fixed assigned seats and 200 people at events with set, assigned seats.

Outdoors, 200 people can gather in cohorts of three, meaning a potential venue of 600 for places with the space and capacity and where there is fixed designated seating.

Soon, when the government changes its rules for events, up to 5,000 people will be able to gather when there is a seating plan in place, provided venues aren’t operating above 50 percent capacity.  

Up to 20 people can book a table at a restaurant or bar when indoors and 30 people outdoors. 

Alcohol will now be able to be served until midnight rather than 10 pm, and this rule will stay in place until July 4th. The cut-off point will remain in place even if national rules change and allow alcohol to be served later. 

Sports, leisure and entertainment 

Bingo halls, bowling alleys, arcades, playgrounds can now reopen.

Oslo’s numbers cap on the people allowed in gyms, museums, galleries, and indoor pools has been lifted. 

Now, 20 people can work out, go for a swim, or take in some art indoors, and up to 30 can do so outdoors. 

Schools 

Restrictions for schools and kindergartens haven’t changed, however. 

This means that schools and kindergartens in Oslo will remain at yellow level. 

Yellow level means that full class sizes are allowed, but mixing between classes must be kept to a minimum. Yellow level also means increased cleaning and hygiene measures are also in place. 

You can read more about yellow level here

Adult education and university are at red level, which means digital learning where possible and minimal contact between students and teachers. 

You can read more on red level here

Work

People are still required to work from home where possible until July 4th. 

Executive mayor Johansen has previously said the home office would be one of the last pandemic measures to go, meaning it could be here for a while longer. 

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