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

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

Pictured is Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde during a Super G event.
Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde competes in the men's FIS Ski World Cup Super G event in Bormio, Italy, on December 29, 2021. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Rising number of unvaccinated hospital admissions 

A new report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has found that a growing proportion of patients admitted to hospitals are unvaccinated.

Over the last three weeks, those unvaccinated against Covid-19 made up a large proportion of those admitted to hospital.

“Overall, we see that more and more inpatients have not been vaccinated,” Forde Forland, director of the NIPH, told newspaper VG.

Last week, 59 percent of the 175 hospital admissions with Covid as the primary cause for hospitalisation were not vaccinated. 38 percent of admissions were fully vaccinated.

Around 90 percent of the adult population in Norway has had two doses of a vaccine, meaning the proportion of unvaccinated people who end up in the hospital is larger.

Forland also said that fully vaccinated patients are mostly older people with underlying conditions. The median age for fully vaccinated patients is 80-years-old while the median age for somebody who isn’t vaccinated is around 50.

Publisher hit by cyberattack

Norway’s second-largest media group was hit by a ransomware attack on Wednesday, halting the publication of some of the local newspapers it owns.

Amedia said hackers were demanding a ransom in order to give back control of affected servers.

The company said that it would not enter into a dialogue about the ransom. The company has said that only print editions are affected and that it would still be able to print around 20 of its 100 newspapers.

At least 22 patients hospitalised with Omicron

A recent weekly report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) shows that there have been at least 22 hospital admissions related to the Omicron coronavirus variant.

However, there may be more as less than half of all patient samples are analysed.

Furthermore, of those 22 admissions, not all patients were hospitalised with Covid as the main cause for ending up in hospital.

The NIPH also said that it believed that strict measures were still needed.

4,407 new Covid-19 cases 

On Wednesday, 4,407 new Covid-19 cases were registered in Norway. That is 117 more than the same day a week before.

Over the past seven days, an average of 3,377 new Covid-19 infections have been registered per day. The same average a week prior was 4,152 daily infections.

As of Wednesday, 323 patients were in the hospital with Covid-19. 118 of those patients are in intensive care, and 79 are on a respirator.

Pictured is the total number of Covid-19 cases in Norway throughout the pandemic.

Above you can see the total number of weekly Covid-19 cases registered in Norway throughout the pandemic.

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

The GP system in Norway to undergo review, a windfall for Statnett and why low production is a sign energy measures are working are among the headlines from Norway on Thursday. 

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

Norway to review the current GP system

The government has tasked an expert committee to devise measures to improve the current GP scheme, it announced on Thursday morning. 

More than 175,000 residents are currently without a GP in Norway, according to the government. 

“The current action plan (to improve the GP system) has several good measures, but they have not had the desired effect. Then we have to think again, and we have to take new measures. We cannot continue on the same track and hope that the situation will resolve itself over time,” Minister of Health and Care Ingvild Kjerkol said. 

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said next year’s budget would include more funding for the GP scheme. 

Part of the expert committee’s objectives will be to develop proposals for how the GP system should be funded and organised.

In a survey of The Local’s readers on the Norwegian healthcare system, being left on a GP waiting system or struggling to get an appointment were two common issues. 

READ MORE: What do foreigners think of the Norwegian healthcare system?

Windfall for Statnett 

State-owned Statnett has announced record bottleneck revenues for July. It made around 3 billion kroner in bottleneck revenues in July, taking the total for the year to over 11 billion kroner. 

Bottleneck revenues is income that Statnett receives when electricity flows from one area to another. The difference between the prices in different regions goes to Statnett.

Last year, Statnett made 5.3 billion kroner from bottleneck revenues. Around 75 percent of Statnett’s revenues have come from bottlenecks this year, according to Europower

One silver lining for those paying record high prices for energy in Norway is that Statnett will eventually have to return the additional income from bottlenecks to customers

Low energy production is a sign that measures are working

Historically low energy production in the south is a sign that measures to ensure a sufficient energy supply in the winter are working, Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland has said. 

“It is a positive development that shows that the power producers are holding on to water,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The low production output comes after the government asked producers to slow down production and provide regular updates on the power situation. 

Power production in eastern and south-west Norway fell to a historically low-level last week, according to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). 

Fears more could slip into fuel poverty this winter

The Norwegian Consumer Council fears that high energy prices could force more people into energy poverty. 

“Many consumers will have to save in other areas to pay the increased electricity costs, while others will struggle to cover the increased expenses”, Inger Lise Blyverket, director of the Consumer Council, said to the consumer rights group’s website.

The Consumer Council said that energy bills could double this year, and the poorest will likely be the hardest hit.