Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of May 26, 2015


Norovirus infects about 20 after holiday; cause unknown
About 20 people were treated for norovirus infections during the days immediately after this year’s Syttende Mai celebration, according to Longyearbyen health officials who said the origin of the outbreak is unknown. Guests with two separate groups at an eatery in Longyearbyen sought treatment May 18 and 19 after suffering symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea, said John Shaft Bilicz, head of the medical department at Longyearbyen Hospital. Although initial speculation was the patients were infected at the eatery, Bilicz said that does not appear to be the case and determining the origin of the virus will likely not be possible.

Part of Vei 222 blocked due to collapse caused by leak  
A leak in the city’s hot-water pipe heating system caused a section of Vei 222 to collapse this week, forcing officials to block the section while the extent of the damage is assessed. The pipe runs along the middle of a street between seven rows of apartment complexes and the leakage resulted in a long crack, but no buildings were damaged and the leak itself has been stopped. “We discovered it during the winter and when the snow melted we saw that is was much larger,” said Kjersti Holte, the city’s technical director

Imtech gets 5K for being first eco-certified local builder
Imtech got a surprise gift of 5,000 kroner from the Longyearbyen Community Council for becoming the first local construction company to be Eco-Lighthouse certified. The certification, Norway’s most widely used for recognizing environmental and social responsibility efforts, was approved earlier this month. “This is important for us,” said Ryno Hansen, the company’s general manager. “We can now document that we are focusing on the external environment and the working environment.” The money from the council is for being one of the first ten local entities to achieve certification. Basecamp Spitsbergen, The Governor of Svalbard and Svalbard Husky have also been certified.