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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 is Bergen, west Norway.
Read about the latest Covid development's in Norway and the sale of the Bergen Engines by Rolls Royce in today's roundup of important news. Pictured is Bergen. Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

Norway registers new daily Covid infection record 

On Tuesday, 7,921 Covid-19 infections were registered in Norway, the highest number of daily cases recorded throughout the pandemic.

Tuesday’s figure is 2,219 reported infections more than the same day last week and 2,688 cases higher than Monday.

The previous daily infection record was 6,003 cases recorded on December 14th.

Over the last seven days, an average of 4,240 new infections have been registered per day. The same average a week ago was 3,360 cases.

The government and health authorities had warned this week that they expected a sharp increase in cases as people returned to their everyday lives following the festive period.

READ MORE: Covid to hit everyday life in Norway throughout winter, warns PM

Government under pressure to end alcohol ban

The government is under increasing pressure to consider scrapping the nationwide ban on selling alcohol in bars and restaurants from employer organisations, the nightlife sector and politicians from other parties.

The Socialist Left Party, the Green Party and Progress Party have all said they want to see the ban brought to an end or reassessed. Additionally, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise has also been critical of the ban, which it has said is the only one of its kind in Europe.

The pressure on the government to lift or reassess the ban has been heavily reported in the Norwegian press, with public broadcaster NRK and newspaper VG reporting on the topic in recent days.

The country’s largest opposition party, the Conservative Party, has no plans to call for the ban to end. 

Covid restrictions likely to be adjusted

The government will likely adjust Norway’s Covid restrictions when it assesses them on January 14th. However, it is too early to say what could be changed and whether infection measures will be relaxed or tightened, health minister Ingvild Kjerkol has told newspaper VG.

“The infection is high in several areas in the country, and there is also greater uncertainty around holidays and Christmas. So we will make a new assessment on January 14th, at the same time, we will follow the situation day by day,” Kjekol said.

The health minister wasn’t drawn into discussing which measures could be adjusted or whether they would become stricter or more relaxed.

Rolls Royce sells off Bergen unit 

British aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce has completed the sale of its Norwegian unit Bergen Engines to Langley Holdings for 91 million euros, it announced Tuesday.

Bergen Engines had been a part of Rolls Royce since 1999, servicing engines for Norwegian Navy vessels.

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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.