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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.

Skiers in Lyngen.
Read about record Covid-19 hospitalisations, the peak of infection being reached in Oslo and Viken and Oslo Municipality wanting to give its residents cheaper energy bills. Pictured are skiers in the Lyngen Alps

Peak of infection in Oslo and Viken may have been reached 

The current wave of Covid-19 infections in Norway has peaked in Oslo and Viken and will do so in other parts of the country in the coming weeks, Bjørn Guldvog, director of health at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, told newspaper VG.

“I am cautiously optimistic when it comes to developments in Oslo and Viken. We have received reports from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) that there are many indications that the peak of infection has been reached. The pressure on the health services in Oslo and Viken seems to be less than it was a couple of weeks ago when we look at our own figures,” Guldvog explained.

He said that the other counties in Norway would reach a peak in the coming weeks before infections and hospital admissions begin to decline.

“It is likely that the other counties in the next few weeks will follow Oslo and Viken and reach a peak in infection pressure and then get some reduced infection pressure,” Guldvog said.

Airline Norwegian takes home profit

In the fourth quarter of 2021, airline Norwegian delivered a profit before tax of 117 million kroner. The result comes despite the outbreak of the Omicron variant at the back end of last year.

“I am pleased that we are effectively adapting to frequent changes in the market, and that we can report a positive bottom line and an improved cash balance in a quarter that was strongly marked by government-imposed restrictions following the emergence of the new Omicron variant,” Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian, said in a press release.

Oslo Municipality to try and secure cheaper electricity for residents

Oslo Municipality will lobby the finance minister for the ability to give its residents lower power bills.

The municipality is the sole owner of Hafslund Eco, Norway’s second-largest power producer. Executive Mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen, wants to use the revenues they get from the firm to offer customers fixed price agreements, meaning billpayers pay a fixed price for their energy.

402 Covid patients in hospital

On Thursday, there were 402 patients in Norwegian hospitals with Covid-19. This is the highest number of Covid patients recorded throughout the pandemic. Of those, only 44 are in intensive care, though.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health said hospitals were well equipped to take on more patients, despite the pandemic high figure for inpatients.

“It is expected that we now get an increase in the number who are admitted to hospital, but fortunately there are still few who are admitted to the intensive care unit and even fewer who need respiratory treatment. The hospitals are well equipped to be able to receive far more patients than they have now, but we naturally follow closely,” Bjørn Goldvog, director of the Norwegian Directorate of Health, told newspaper VG.

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TODAY IN NORWAY

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.

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