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

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

Pictured are 50 and 500 Norwegian kroner notes.
Read about why wages could increase in 2022 and record sales for Vinmonopolet this year and more in today's roundup. Pictured are 500 kroner notes. Photo by Nils S. Aasheim/Norges Bank on Flickr.

4,702 new Covid-19 cases in Norway

On Tuesday, 4,702 new Covid-19 infections were registered in Norway, 97 fewer than the same day a week before.

Over the last seven days, an average of 3,360 infections have been registered per day. The same average a week prior was 4,359.

In Oslo, 979 new Covid-19 cases were recorded. That is 79 fewer than last Tuesday, but 168 more than the day before.

As of Tuesday, 315 patients were hospitalised with the coronavirus, 13 more than the day before. 120 of those patients are in intensive care, and among those, 82 are on a respirator.

Pictured are the total number of weekly Covid-19 cases in Norway.
Pictured above is the total number of weekly cases in Norway since the pandemic began.

Experts expecting substantial wage jump next year 

Workers can expect a wage raise in the region of 3.8 percent, according to estimates from DNB Markets.

“We believe that there is a solid rise in wage growth next year, and if we are right, there will be an increase of half a percentage point, compared to the wage growth we have seen this year,” Kjersti Haugland, chief economist at DNB Markets told public broadcaster NRK.

READ ALSO: Why Norway doesn’t have a national minimum wage and how fair pay is ensured

The reason why experts are expecting the wage rise is due to increasing prices and inflation. Over the past 12 months, inflation has risen by 5.1 percent, mainly due to soaring electricity prices.

Avalanche warnings for parts of southern Norway 

In the coming days, those planning a ski trip have been warned of increasing avalanche danger in southern Norway.

“On Thursday, mild weather will hit southern Norway. Then we will see an increase in avalanche danger in the entire region,” Tommy Skårholen, from the Norwegian Water and Energy Directorate’s (NVE) avalanche unit, told public broadcaster NRK.

Conditions in northern Norway will be more stable, but the NVE has also reminded people to practice caution when planning a trip to the mountains.

Record year for Vinmonopolet

Norway’s Vinmonopolet, which regulates the sale of alcohol stronger than 4.7 percent, has seen a record year in terms of alcohol sales.

The wine monopoly estimates that it will sell 118.5 litres of wine, beer and spirits in 2021. As of December 22nd, they had already surpassed last years record sales figures of 115.5 million litres.

“This is probably a record that will stand for a very long time. Probably several decades, if we get over the pandemic and society can reopen,” Jens Nordahl comms manager at Vinnmonopolet told news wire NTB.

Part of the reason for the record sales was several restrictions across the year, such as the closure of bar’s and restaurants or the hospitality settings being prohibited from selling alcohol.

READ MORE: Why the Norwegian government controls the sale of most alcohol

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

King Harald in hospital for observation, pilots to decide whether to accept the SAS agreement, the government promises more electricity support, plus other news from Norway on Friday. 

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

King Harald in hospital for observation 

Norway’s king, King Harald, has been admitted to Oslo University Hospital for observation with a fever, the Royal Palace announced Thursday. 

The palace described the king’s condition as stable. 

Last week, King Harald participated in the sailing World Cup, where his team finished 10th. His next engagement is a meeting with the cabinet at the castle on August 12th. 

Last year, the 85-year-old had an operation on a damaged knee tendon and had previously had bladder cancer. 

Pilots to decide whether to accept SAS offer

The pilot associations in Norway, Sweden and Denmark have opened the vote on the collective bargaining deal offered by airline SAS today. 

The deadline to submit votes is midnight, and the result will be announced tomorrow. Pilots could strike again if the deal isn’t given the green light. In July, pilots were on strike for 15 days.

The government promises more electricity support

Norway’s government will increase and strengthen the electricity subsidy support scheme, Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland has said. 

“We have worked intensively for a long period. People need to know that we are dealing with this. They must be confident that they have electricity and that they can afford to pay the bills,” Aasland told Norwegian newswire NTB. 

When the measures are announced isn’t currently known, but Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has said that the government will present its plans in August. 

Aasland said that the government has three main objectives when it comes to electricity support. First up was to maintain the security of the energy supply, improve the support scheme for households, and introduce support for businesses. 

Strong decline in sea ice in Norway 

Since May, there has been a substantial decline in sea ice around Svalbard and ice coverage is 62,000 square kilometres below normal. 

This is the equivalent of the land area of Svalbard, or Møre og Romsdal, Vestland and Rogaland combined.

Researcher Signe Aaboe at the Meteorological Institute said the decline is probably due to this summer’s heat, with climate change as a contributing factor, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

The lack of ice coverage is particularly bad news for polar bears, which depend on ice-covered seas to survive. Over the last few decades, the amount of Sea Ice in the Arctic has gradually decreased due to global warming.