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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.

The Lyngen Alps Norway
Read about a police raid on illegal firearms, the PM saying more restrictions could be lifted in the near future and unemployment returning to pre-pandemic levels in today's roundup of important news. Pictured are people on a cross country ski trip in the Lyngen Alps, northern Norway. Photo by Hendrik Morkel on Unsplash

The government could ease measures before February 17th 

On Tuesday, the government relaxed a large majority of the country’s Covid-19 restrictions, such as recommended limits on the number of guests one could have visit, a table service requirement for the sale of alcohol, and the requirement to work from home were scrapped.

However, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said at Tuesday’s government press conference that the remaining measures, such as the requirement to wear a face mask and social distance, could be lifted on February 17th if the situation with the virus develops as expected.

READ ALSO: Norway relaxes Covid-19 restrictions but keeps face mask rules

However, in more recent comments, the PM has said that some of the remaining measures could be lifted before February 17th.

“We ask the professional authorities to give us advice on an ongoing basis. We will not have such rules longer than necessary,” he told broadcaster TV2 on Thursday.

Number of long-term unemployed at pre-pandemic levels 

Unemployment in Norway has continued to fall and is now back to pre-pandemic levels, data collection agency Statistics Norway has said.

In the final quarter of 2021, unemployment was around 3.5 percent, significantly lower than at the same time in 2020 and at around a similar level to the average of the last quarter-century.

READ MORE: Tips for finding an English speaking job in Norway

“We see that the corona crisis is the event that has led to the biggest peak in unemployment in the last 25 years, but at least so far it has the shortest duration when it comes to an increase in unemployment,” Tonje Køber from Statistics Norway said.

Police raid uncovers 83 illegal weapons 

As many as 83 illegal firearms, including shotguns, submachine guns, and rifles, have been seized following a police raid.

The firearms have been linked to a 49-year-old man in the Arendal area. In addition, the police uncovered around 300 advertisements on the listing site

According to prosecutors, the weapons were sealed but were not done so legally, meaning they could be turned into functional weapons.

Typically the sale of weapons isn’t illegal, presuming they are adequately sealed. The weapons were seized in 2020 and the man is set to go on trial shortly.

Olso recorded more Covid cases last month than in the whole of last year 

In January, more than 90,000 Covid-19 infections were registered in Oslo. This is more cases than the entire total for last year. 

The figures were published in Oslo Municipality’s weekly report. Around a third of last month’s cases were recorded in the final week of the month. 

Adults under 40 have made up the majority of those to test positive for the virus in the Norwegian capital this year.  

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For members


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

Fatal traffic accidents, a Covid cash row and projects facing postponements are among the main stories from Norway on Monday. 

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

Several dead after traffic accidents

Four people died, and two were flown to hospital following an accident in the Steigen tunnel, Nordland, north Norway, on Sunday afternoon.

 Another two died in an accident in Voss earlier on Sunday. Four people involved in the collision were sent to hospital. 

“We are at full speed into the season where there are usually more fatal accidents than in other periods of the year,” Cecilie Bryner from Trygg Trafikk, which promotes safe driving, said to newswire NTB. 

37 people have lost their lives on Norwegian roads so far this year. Last year, 87 died in accidents. 

Deadline for agricultural settlement

The deadline for the state and agricultural sector to agree on subsidies and funding is today. 

The farmers demand 11.5 billion kroner from the government, while the state has only offered 10.15 billion. 

The two parties have remained tight-lipped on how close they are to a possible agreement or what’s being negotiated.

This year’s settlement is considered far more complicated than during a typical year. The agreement is supposed to cover farmers’ incomes for 2023 and cover the cost of soaring prices and inflation in 2022, agricultural paper Nationen writes. 

Norway’s municipalities in Covid cash row 

A row has erupted between the government and Norwegian municipalities as funding promised to help cover the bill for Covid to local authorities was not included in the revised national budget for 2022, public broadcaster NRK reports

Several municipalities have hit out at the government as a result. 

Norway’s Minister of Local Government, Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, defended the budget and said there wasn’t a cash flow problem in Norwegian municipalities and that things should “happen in the right order”. 

This opens the door for compensation to be agreed upon after a report on Covid expenditure is published in September. 

READ MORE: What the revised national budget in Norway means for foreigners

Road projects could be pushed back 

Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård has said that less money will be spent on road construction next year and that large national projects could be put on hold or scaled back. 

“We will need to review our priorities because there will probably be less money than planned for transport,” Nygård told newspaper VG

The minister didn’t say which projects were most likely to be put on the backburner, but it was most likely those that were still in the planning and preparation stages.