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TODAY IN NORWAY

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.

Skiers in Kåfjord.
Read about the second day of the Breivik parole hearing, the latest Covid rules and a potential change to the self-isolation rules in today's roundup of important news. Pictured is somebody skiing in Kåfjord. Photo by Hendrik Morkel on Unsplash

Norway passes 15,000 daily Covid-19 cases for the first time 

On Tuesday, 15,367 coronavirus infections were registered in Norway, a record amount.

Tuesday’s record figure is also the first time that more than 15,000 infections have been reported over a 24-hour period.

Over the last seven days, an average of 11,180 infections have been registered per day. The same average a week prior was 6,865, indicating that the infection trend is rising rapidly.

There were 238 patients in hospital with Covid-19 on Tuesday. Two fewer than the day before. Of the patients in hospital with Covid, 74 were in intensive care, and 49 were on ventilators.

More than 538,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Norway since the pandemic began.

READ ALSO: When will the current wave of Covid-19 infections in Norway peak?

Quarantine for household contacts of Covid-19 infected could be dropped

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has said that the quarantine rules which see those sharing a household with or the partners of those who test positive for Covid-19 can be dropped.

Instead, they would see the quarantine rule replaced with daily testing for five days. This in practice would mean that nobody will be required to quarantine after coming into contact with somebody with Covid-19.

“It is logical and sensible because there are people who are healthy and can work even if they have been exposed to Covid-19,” Preben Aavitsland, director of infection control at the NIPH, told newspaper VG.

The government did not adopt the suggested rule change when it eased national Covid-19 rules last week because the municipalities didn’t have enough rapid tests at their disposal.

More deliveries are expected in the coming weeks meaning the relaxation could be made soon.

READ MORE: What are the current rules for Covid-19 self-isolation in Norway?

NIPH to text 4 million people

The NIPH will send out text messages to everyone aged over 16 about the Smittestopp app on Wednesday and Thursday.

The app was developed by health authorities to track infections during the pandemic, and it has thus far been downloaded 1.1 million times.

“We expect a significant increase in infection in the weeks ahead, and the individual will now, to a greater extent, report infection to their close contacts. By reporting infection through the Smittestopp app, you will also be able to notify close contacts you might not be aware of. You will also be notified yourself if you have been near someone who is infected,” Camilla Stoltenberg, director of the NIPH, said on the health institute’s website.

The second day of the Breivik parole hearing

Today is the second day of far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik’s parole hearing. 

The request for parole is widely expected to be turned down, and today, forensic psychiatrist Randi Rosenqvist will present a statement on Breivik. 

In 2012, Breivik was handed a 21-year sentence that can be extended indefinitely for the July 22nd attacks in which 77 people, mostly teenagers, were killed by Breivik.

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TODAY IN NORWAY

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

A proposed change to blood donation rules, parliament demanding an end to passport waiting times and the Bergen International Festival kicking off are among the main stories from Norway. 

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

Norway to look at change to blood donation rules

The Ministry of Health wants the Norwegian Directorate of Health to consider changes to the blood donation rules for gay men. 

Current regulations mean that gay men have to wait 12 months since they were last sexually active to donate blood. The same rules do not apply to heterosexual couples. 

“Blood donors make an invaluable contribution to society and to other people. It is important to facilitate that those who can and want to donate blood can do so in a safe way. This means that we must have regulations that are updated on professional knowledge about the risk of who can donate blood,” Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol said. 

Parliament demands an end to passport waiting times

A majority in parliament’s Justice Committee supported a proposal to introduce immediate measures to ease lengthy passport waiting times ahead of the summer holidays, NRK writes

The parties in government do not currently support the proposal but are in the minority. The measures will be voted on in parliament on June 2nd. 

So far, the government has extended passport office opening hours and reopened bureaus that were closed under the previous government. 

Norway’s Justice Minister has said that the proposals wouldn’t ease the backlog before the summer as the main issue is suppliers lack of the raw materials used to make the travel documents. 

“This proposal has no bearing on the prospect of delivering more passports before the summer. The government implemented these measures almost three months ago. But, the main problem is that the supplier lacks the components for production. We have extended the opening hours and increased staffing, but this is not where the problem lies now,” Emilie Enger Mehl, Minister of Justice, told NRK. 

READ ALSO: Norwegian police urge travellers not to book holidays without a valid passport

Bergen International Festival starts

Bergen’s annual cultural and music festival commences today. It is the largest festival in the Nordic countries of its type and will run for the next 14 days across the city. 

This afternoon, there will be an opening ceremony for the festival at Torgallmenningen Square. Queen Sonja and the Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre will be in attendence. 

First-quarter losses for budget airline

Budget airline Flyr lost 212 million kroner during the first quarter of 2022, despite passenger revenues of 78 million. 

Despite what the airline described as a challenging market, it believes the future looks promising as summer approaches. Flyr has reported a large number of bookings and has ordered new aircraft. 

Over the last year, the airline lost 419 million kroner. 

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