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TODAY IN NORWAY

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.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Read about how Christmas may have affected infection rates and whether lockdowns led to a baby boom in Norway in today's roundup. Pictured are the Lyngen Alps in Troms og Finnmark. Photo by Kevin Bessat on Unsplash

Christmas may have affected Covid-19 infections 

Espen Nakstad, assistant health director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, said that Christmas may have led to a downtrend in Covid infections over the last few days.

Infection numbers have dipped somewhat over the festive period following record daily Covid cases earlier in December. Nakstad said that fewer people getting tested over the holidays contributed to lower numbers of registered cases.

“We see clear signs of a Christmas effect in that the number of registered cases of infection falls more than the number of hospitalised. This is probably primarily due to fewer people getting tested at Christmas. Still, the low infection pressure we saw in many municipalities in the last week before Christmas may also have contributed,” Nakstad told newspaper VG.

Signs of a lockdown baby boom

Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions in Norway may have led to a baby boom in Norway, according to recent statistics.

The figures, analysed by public broadcaster NRK, show that during the first nine months of 2021, 2,037 more children were born compared to the same period a year earlier.

The first spike in births followed the lockdown in Spring 2020, followed by a second after a summer of travel restrictions.

Physician Ferenc Mascali from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s birth registry said that the lockdown baby boom reverses a trend of declining birth rates.

 “This is interesting. Not least in light of the decline in the number of births annually, from 63,000 to 53,000 births during 12 years in Norway. It is surprising that the trend reverses approximately nine months after the closure of Norway in the spring of 2020,” the physician told NRK.

January this year was the first time the birth rate in Norway increased in several years.

2,214 new Covid-19 infections in Norway

On Sunday, 2,214 new Covid-19 infections were registered in Norway. This is 1,318 coronavirus cases less than the average for the previous seven days, which is 3,532. Sunday’s infection numbers are also 808 fewer than the same day a week before.

Lower cases tend to be recorded on weekends as less people get tested, and fewer samples are processed.

On Christmas day, there were 307 patients in hospital with Covid-19. Of those, 121 were in intensive care, and 83 were on a respirator.

Pictured is a graph of the total number of Covid-19 cases in Norway.
Pictured is the total number of weekly Covid-19 cases in Norway. Source: Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

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TODAY IN NORWAY

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

Authorities mull euthanising a famous walrus, a 'dramatic' new climate report, and a salmonella outbreak are among the headlines from Norway on Friday.

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

Authorities say Freya the walrus may be euthanised

Norwegian authorities are considering putting down a walrus that won hearts basking in the sun of the Oslofjord amid fears it is putting itself and the public in danger, they said Thursday. 

Despite repeated appeals to the public to keep their distance from the walrus — a young female weighing 600 kilos (1,300 pounds) that has been nicknamed Freya -the mammal continues to attract big crowds, the Fisheries Directorate said in a statement.

 Its text was accompanied by a photograph of a group of onlookers crowding near the animal.

 “The public’s reckless behaviour and failure to follow authorities’ recommendations could put lives in danger”, a spokeswoman for the fisheries agency, Nadia Jdaini, said.

“We are now exploring other measures, and euthanasia may be a real alternative”, she added.

The Arctic is heating up much faster than expected

Temperatures in the Arctic have risen four times faster than the rest of the planet, with the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard warming up even quicker, a new study has found. 

The environment minister Espen Barthe Eide has called the study’s findings dramatic. 

“These are dramatic figures. The study is another serious warning about how quickly climate change is happening,” Eide told Norwegian newswire NTB. 

“The ice is melting at record speed, the water is getting warmer, the permafrost is thawing, life on land as well as in the sea is changing,” he said. 

“Parts of Svalbard are in the process of changing from an Arctic to an Atlantic climate,” he added. 

The study concluded the temperature in the Arctic has increased by 0.75 degrees Celsius per decade, and this is almost four times as fast as the rest of the globe. In the areas around Svalbard and Novaya Semlja, the temperature has increased by as much as 1.25 degrees per decade. 

Salmonella outbreak linked to watermelon

An outbreak of salmonella has been linked to a batch of watermelon, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has said. 

The authority said it was working to identify the watermelons linked to the outbreak, in which 18 people have neem infected, but said it was unlikely that the batch in question was unlikely to be found in supermarkets anymore. 

Ukrainian refugees didn’t receive money they were entitled to from the UDI

A number of Ukrainian refugees did not receive the basic benefits they were entitled to when they first arrived in the country, with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) working to identify who may be owed money. 

“We cannot say anything about when we will start the repayments themselves, but UDI wants to make it clear that this is a high-priority matter and that there are many people working on the matter,” press adviser at the UDI, Per-Jan Brekke, told the newspaper Aftenposten

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