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TODAY IN NORWAY

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

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

Aker Brygge Norway
Read about new Covid-19 rules, power outages and how much the electricity support scheme is likely to cost the government. Pictured is Aker Brygge, Oslo. Photo by Ranurte on Unsplash

New Covid rules take effect

Several new Covid rules come into effect today. Firstly, the national ban on serving alcohol in bars, restaurants and other licensed venues has been lifted.

However, there will be restricted hours on when venues can serve alcohol. For example, the sale of liquor will only be allowed until 11pm, and table service is required, meaning you can’t order at the bar.

Additionally, the number of people allowed to gather at private events in public settings, for example, restaurant bookings, will be increased to 30.

In a public setting without fixed seats, up to 30 can attend. When fixed designated seating is in place, the limit will be 200.

New self-isolation rules are also being introduced for close contacts who are not a partner or share the same household as someone who tests positive for the virus. They will not be required to isolate but are being asked to test themselves on days 3 and 5 after being identified as a close contact. 

READ MORE: Norway lifts alcohol ban as Covid rules eased

Increased electricity support to cots the government billions of kroner

Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum has said that the increased support the government will provide for household electricity bills over the winter will cost them an additional 3.4 billion kroner, on top of the cost of existing support.

The government has proposed raising the proportion of the bill it covers when the spot price, the cost of raw energy, rises above 70 øre kWh from 55 percent to 80 percent.

The extra support would bring the total bill for the scheme to around 13 billion kroner.

READ ALSO: Norwegian government to increase energy bills subsidy to 80 percent

11,597 new Covid-19 cases in Norway

On Thursday, 11,597 new cases of infection were recorded in Norway over the last 24 hours. This is 4,240 cases more than the average for the previous seven days, which is 7,357.

Thursday’s figure is also 3,718 infections more than the same day a week before, 7,879.

As of yesterday, 243 people in hospitals were infected with Covid-19. Of those 243, 79 are in intensive care, and 60 are on a respirator.

Power outages in 14 municipalities 

Several thousand households have been affected by power outages in southeast Norway this morning.

The power outages were reported by network Elvia and power is back on for most of the firms’ customers.

Asker and Bærum were among the areas affected by the outages.

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TODAY IN NORWAY

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. 

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