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

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

Pictured is Oslo in the winter.
Read about the latest Covid-19 developments in Norway, including the PM saying that the virus will be a part of everyday life throughout the winter and more in today's roundup. Pictured is Oslo's local scenery in the winter. Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash

PM: Covid to affect everyday life in Norway throughout the winter           

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has warned the public that they can expect Covid-19 to affect their daily lives throughout the winter. At the same time, he praised the country’s efforts in following national restrictions brought in during December.

“The measures we introduced in December and people’s efforts over the past month have had a good effect. At the same time, booster doses are being given throughout the country, but the next few months will be demanding. The coronavirus will affect our everyday lives throughout the winter,” he told newspaper VG.

He added that there was a large amount of uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, and the public should be prepared for an increase in infections and hospitalisations in the future.

Electric cars made up the majority of new cars sold in Norway last year

EV’s, or electric vehicles, made up just under two-thirds of all new car’s registered in the country during 2021, according to the Information Council for Road Traffic.

Last year 64.5 percent of all new cars sold were battery-powered vehicles, a rise of over 10 percent compared to the year before.

The proportion of new EVs sold was the highest in the world. The Tesla Model 3 was the single best-selling model in 2021.

Omicron dominant in Norway

On Monday, the NIPH announced that the Omicron variant was dominant in Norway. During the last week of 2021, the variant accounted for 65.4 percent of sequenced virus samples—the variant dominated in all counties except Adger.

“The figures show a small increase in the Omicron variant through Christmas, but it is difficult to know whether these figures reflect the actual situation in the last couple of weeks,” Line Vold, director of the infection control department at the NIPH, said in a statement.

READ MORE: Norway told to expect sharp rise in Covid-19 infections as Omicron becomes dominant

Nearly 40,000 vaccine doses were thrown out last year 

At least 38,000 coronavirus vaccine doses had to be discarded over the past year, according to regional newspaper Bergens Tidende.

The figures come from the newspaper asking various municipalities around the country how many shots had to be thrown out during 2021.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health told the paper that it was unfortunate that the doses had to be thrown away.

5,233 new Covid-19 cases 

On Monday, 5,223 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Norway, 1,483 registered infections more than the same day last week.

Over the last seven days, an average of 3,780 cases has been registered per day. The same average a week prior was 3,374.

Pictured is the total number of weekly reported Covid-19 cases in Norway.

Pictured above is the total number of weekly reported Covid-19 cases in Norway throughout the pandemic. Photo by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

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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