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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 the Lyngen Alps in Tromsø.
Read about tonight's government press conference, record Covid-19 numbers and the NIPH's latest report on the Omicron variant in today's roundup of news from Norway. Pictured are the Lyngen Alps in Tromsø. Photo by Kevin Bessat on Unsplash

New measures set to be announced 

The government will hold a press conference at 7pm this evening where it is widely expected to announce some relief to the current Covid-19 measures, which were introduced in mid-December.

Various ministers have made it clear throughout the week that multiple measures could be relaxed.

Lifting the national alcohol ban in hospitality is among the restrictions that could be lifted, should the professional advice say it is safe to do so.

Additionally, the government also wants to move high schools from red-level, which sees partial home learning, to yellow level, which sees smaller class sizes.

READ MORE: How could Norway’s Covid-19 rules change this week?

We will be covering tonight’s press conference, so be sure to check in with The Local to stay up to date on how the rules will affect you.

11,825 new Covid-19 cases

On Wednesday, 11,825 new Covid-19 cases were registered in Norway, a new daily infection record and the first time that more than 10,000 infections in 24 hours have been reported. This is 4,660 cases more than the average for the previous seven days. 

In Oslo, 3,038 new cases of infection have been registered, 1,368 more than the day before.

264 people are in hospital with Covid-19, and 80 of those are in intensive care.

Infection numbers could reach 50,000 per day during winter wave

In an up to date risk assessment of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has estimated that coronavirus infections could reach around 50,000 per day during a winter wave between January and March.

“We expect a significant wave of infected in the coming weeks and expect that we will reach the peak at the turn of the month (the end of January and beginning of February),” Camilla Stoltenberg, director of the NIPH, told public broadcaster NRK of the report’s findings.

Stoltenberg added that while Omicron was around twice as spreadable as the Delta variant, it was also around a third as likely to lead to serious illness.

At the peak of infection, the NIPH has said it expects less than 200 hospital admissions per day and fewer than 150 people at any time requiring a ventilator.

The NIPH also said that it would be impossible to stop a winter wave but could be slowed down with intervention measures.

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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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