Omicron variant: Norway reports large outbreak of infections

Health authorities in Oslo say that 50 Omicron infections are connected to a Christmas party



Students from Norway who were on a field trip to South Africa wait to be tested for Covid-19 before boarding a flight to Amsterdam at Johannesburg's OR Tambo's airport. — AP
Students from Norway who were on a field trip to South Africa wait to be tested for Covid-19 before boarding a flight to Amsterdam at Johannesburg's OR Tambo's airport. — AP

By AP

Published: Thu 2 Dec 2021, 6:10 PM

At least 50 people in and around Norway’s capital have been infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant and the cases are connected to a Norwegian company’s Christmas party in an Oslo restaurant, officials said on Thursday.

“More cases are expected. Effective tracing is being done to limit transmission routes and prevent major outbreaks,” the Oslo Municipality said in a statement.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said that those affected live in Oslo and surrounding municipalities, and “the infection detection team in Oslo has contacted the municipalities concerned to start infection detection”.

The government agency said that there was “a high vaccination coverage” in the group, adding that overall “more than 50 cases” have been recorded in Norway. The country’s first two cases were announced on Monday.

On Wednesday, the city of Oslo urged people who visited two restaurants in the capital to be tested. One reportedly was where the Christmas party was held.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and whether it can thwart vaccines.

It is customary in Scandinavia for companies, associations and individuals to hold Christmas parties in the weeks leading up to Christmas eve.


More news from coronavirus