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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

Pictured is Bergen from above.
Read about Norway scrapping entry quarantine, a health chief saying the current Covid measures placing more of a burden on society than the disease itself and record infection numbers in today's roundup of important news. Pictured is Bergen from above.

Norway passes 20,000 daily Covid cases and sets new infection record 

On Tuesday, 24,429 new Covid-19 infections were registered in Norway, 9,062 more than the same day a week before. This is the first time the country has recorded more than 20,000 Covid-19 cases in a single day and a new daily infection record.

Over the last seven days, an average of 18,110 Covid-19 cases have been recorded each day. The same average a week ago was 11,180, meaning a rising infection trend.

253 patients were in hospitals with Covid-19 on Tuesday, two fewer than the day before.

Last week weekly admissions rose for the first time since peaking in mid-December, and health experts have said they expect numbers to rise further going forward.

READ MORE: Why Omicron has caused an increase in Covid-19 hospitalisations in Norway

Norway scraps quarantine for all travellers

From today, all travellers arriving into Norway will no longer be required to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status, whether they have a valid Covid-19 certificate or where they arrive from.

The rule will come as a boost to travellers from outside the European Economic Area or EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), as arriving from a non-EEA country, excluding the UK, automatically triggered a quarantine obligation unless you met the Covid-19 certificate and vaccination requirements.

The rule change was announced on the government’s website, and the decision comes following a recommendation from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH). The NIPH said that travellers without a valid Covid-19 certificate accounted for 7 percent of all arrivals and only 4 percent of total infection cases, meaning the quarantine period was “of little significance” to the development of the pandemic in Norway.

“I agree with the NIPH that the proportion of infected among arrivals without a Covid certificate is so small related to the infection situation in Norway, that the time has come to change the requirement for entry quarantine,” Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol said in a statement.

READ MORE: Norway to scrap Covid-19 entry quarantine for all travellers

Health chief: Covid measures may be placing a greater burden on society than the disease itself

The current Covid measures may be more of a burden on society than the disease itself, Forde Forland from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health told newspaper VG on Tuesday.

“Now, we may see that the measures place a greater burden than the disease itself. Therefore, we continuously evaluate this (the situation) for the government to adjust things,” he told the newspaper.

In recent weeks measures such as the alcohol ban and the self-isolation, rules have been eased somewhat, and Forland said that more restrictions could be lifted soon as he believed the infection situation was currently under control.

“The measures will continue to be relaxed if this goes well, and it seems to be going well,” Forland said.

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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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