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TODAY IN NORWAY

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 are sleigh dogs in Tromsø.
Read about the latest Covid development's in Norway, walk in boosters being available in Oslo and more in The Local's short roundup of important news. Photo by Angel Luciano on Unsplash

NIPH is expecting large wave of Covid infection 

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has warned that it expects a significant wave of Covid-19 infections driven by the Omicron variant, which became dominant in Norway this week.

“The epidemic is now driven by the omicron variant, and we expect a significant increase in the epidemic. It is uncertain whether we will get a flu epidemic in the coming weeks or whether the measures against the corona will slow down the flu virus,” The NIPH wrote in a weekly report.

The health institute also asked hospitals to prepare for more patients due to the wave of Omicron infections it is expecting.

8,385 new Covid-19 cases in Norway

On Wednesday, 8,385 new Covid-19 cases were registered in Norway, 3,978 more than the same day last week. The number of infections is the highest recorded during a single day so far.

Over the last seven days, an average of 4,808 Covid-19 infections have been registered per day. The same average a week ago was 3,377.

In Oslo, 2,075 new infections have been reported over the last 24 hours.

Alcohol ban to remain in place until next week

The alcohol ban, which prohibits the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants nationwide, will remain in place until next week at the earliest the government has said.

When asked whether he would end the ban by newspaper VG Støre said the current measures would need to remain in place while the government assess the spread of infection over Christmas and New Year’s.

He added the government was working on new measures in the meantime.

“We are working on this now. The measures must be in place for some time, and we must use the days after the New Year to see the extent of the spread of infection,” Støre told the paper.

The government had been under pressure in recent days to lift the ban.

Norway registers lowest number of organ donations in a decade

Last year, 95 organ donations took place, the lowest number for ten years, according to the Organ Donation Foundation.

Last year 374 patients benefitted from the 404 organs given by donors, the foundation said in a press release.

Oslo opens for drop-in vaccinations

All residents of Oslo over 18, regardless of the district they live in, can get a Covid-19 booster jab at the Stovner vaccine centre.

People aged between 18-44 who have already received an appointment date have been asked to wait for their slot rather than attend a drop-in.

Four and a half months or 20 weeks must have passed since the second vaccine dose to become eligible for a booster. 

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TODAY IN NORWAY

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

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