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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.

Pictured is Hegeness, Valdres, south-east Norway.
Read about the resumption of schools, a weather warning for drivers and the latest Covid developments in Norway with Today's roundup. Pictured is the snowy scenery in Hegeness. Photo by Fredrik Solli Wandem on Unsplash

NIPH is unsure how Christmas has affected the spread of Covid-19 infection

Camilla Stoltenberg, director-general of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), has said that she is apprehensive heading into the new year and is unsure how Christmas and New Year’s have affected the spread of infection in Norway.

Her comments follow infection rates flattening somewhat over the Christmas period and being considerably lower than the record 6,000 plus cases recorded in mid-December.

“We are uncertain about the infection numbers because people behave a little differently during public holidays when it comes to both testing and social contact. It is difficult to say how Christmas will have turned out if we look 2-3 weeks ahead,” she said.

READ ALSO: How Europe is ending 2021 with record Covid rates and new restrictions

“There is a lot of uncertainty. That’s what he’s (Bjørn Guldvog) pointing to. We now fear a new wave of infections in January,” Vold told broadcaster TV2.

School term starts

The school term in Norway will get underway in most parts of the country on Monday. Upper secondary schools will reopen at red level and primary schools, secondary schools and kindergartens will reopen at yellow level. 

Last week teachers in Norway expressed their frustration at new self-isolation rules that meant that they wouldn’t be required to quarantine during work hours- meaning they could still teach- but will be expected to behave as if they were self-isolating outside of work hours when identified as a close contact of somebody who tests positive for the virus. 

READ ALSO: Teachers in Norway frustrated by change to Covid self-isolation rules

Motorists warned of icy driving conditions this week

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute has issued a yellow warning due to the risk of rain freezing and creating difficult driving conditions in southern Norway.

The warning will apply in Oslo, Viken and Innlandet from Monday until Friday.

“Calculate extra time for transport and driving. Use the right tires and drive according to the conditions,” the institute cautioned.

2,907 new Covid-19 cases

On Sunday, 2,907 new Covid-19 infections were registered, which is 693 more than the same day last week. Over the last seven days, an average of 3,174 new Covid-19 infections have been reported in Norway. The same average a week before was 3,416 daily cases.

As of Sunday, 314 patients were hospitalised with Covid-19, 19 more than the day before. 107 of those patients were in intensive care, and 74 were on a respirator.

More than 396,000 people have been registered as testing positive for the virus since the pandemic began.

Total number of Covid-19 cases in Norway.

Pictured above is the total number of Covid-19 cases recorded each week in Norway since the pandemic began. Source: NIPH

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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