Tag Archives: coronavirus

13 COVID CASES IN SVALBARD FIRST WEEK OF 2022: Four infected with Omicron, officials said they’ve lost control of ability to track cases, increases expected to continue

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Photo by Longyearbyen Lokalstyre

A total of 13 COVID-19 cases were detected among residents and visitors in Svalbard during the first week of 2022, including four of the Omicron variant, with local officials saying they expected cases to continue to rise and they’ve lost control of the ability track the path of local cases.

LONGYEARBYEN SCHOOL NIXES EVENTS AS NORWAY REVIVES STRICT COVID-19 RULES: Resurgence of virus means ‘a difficult Christmas’ as month-long limits on gatherings, more enacted

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Photo courtesy of Longyearbyen School

The Grinch is back in his mean mode in the form of the latest COVID-19 varient, as Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said Tuesday “it will be a difficult Christmas holiday this year as well” while announcing a series of revived crackdowns for the next month – including limits of gathering sizes and bar hours – due to a resurgence of the virus in the country and elsewhere.

In Svalbard officials announced Tuesday that Longyearbyen School is shutting its doors to public events, due to the potential consequences of infections rather than concern about a large local outbreak.

NORWAY REIMPOSES NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST FOR SVALBARD TRAVELERS: Omicrom varient means mainland test required within 24 hours of departure, including vaccinated persons

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Photo by Arild Olsen / Longyearbyen Lokalstyre

A negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours for all people traveling to Svalbard is in effect again due to concerns about the highly contageous Omicrom that has reached Norway and scores of other countries, Norway’s government announced Friday.

Permanent Svalbard residents can get free tests at Gardermoen Airport in Olso and in the Tromsø city center. However, self-tests are not valid for any travellers.

COVID-19 self-test distribution station opens Monday at Longyear 78°; free kits provided to vaccinated people with respitory symptoms and targeted unvaccinated groups

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Photo by Longyearbyen Lokalstyre

A COVID-19 self-test distribution station in the parking lot of Longyear 78° is scheduled to be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays starting Monday, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

MULTIPLE COVID-19 CASES IN LONGYEARBYEN PROMPT EMERGENCY MEETING: Several measures including free self-tests implemented, but ‘no need to impose strict measures’

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Multiple cases of COVID-19 in Longyearbyen among residents and visitors prompted a meeting of the local emergency council Thursday and the implementation of several measures, but officials said there is no need yet to impose strict infection-control measures.

SVALBARD’S FIRST ‘REAL’ COVID-19 CASE CONFIRMED: Longyearbyen resident in isolation after likely being infected on mainland; case is second in Svalbard, first involving a resident

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Photo by Longyearbyen Lokalstyre

The first Svalbard resident diagnosed with COVID-19 in the archipelago was confirmed Tuesday by Longyearbyen Hospital, with a doctor stating the patient was likely infected on the mainland and is now isolated after being tested during an early stage of the disease.

SVALBARD’S FIRST OFFICIAL COVID-19 CASE: Russian fisherman on vessel near Bjørnya briefly hospitalized in Longyearbyen; officials not worried about risk to others

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It’s official: the first COVID-19 case in Svalbard was recorded this week when a Russian fisherman who was ill aboard a vessel near Bjørnøya was transported to Longyearbyen Hospital for about 13 hours before being sent to the mainland for treatment of the virus. Local and health officials said they do not believe his presence will risk having the disease spread to others in the archipelago.

SWEET SOUND OF FREEDOM: Dark Season Blues and Arctic Chamber Music festivals among Svalbard events turning up the volume after a missed year as COVID-19 restrictions lifted

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While there’s some harsh “post-Covid” tones on the mainland in the form of violent celebration and foreign countries putting Norway in the highest-risk travel categories, the immediate sounds from Svalbard were harmonious as organizers of various upcoming events including two major music festivals announced they are launching/expanding plans following cancellations of last year’s events.

MOST SVALBARD COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS LIFTED: Negative virus test before entry, occupancy/tour/cruise limits nixed as of Saturday as Norway reopens borders to many countries

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Photo by Christopher Michel / Creative Commons

A major step toward resuming “normal everyday life” in Norway begins at 4 p.m. Saturday when most COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted, including a negative virus test within 24-hours of travel to Svalbard, rigid requirements for conducting tour operations in the archipelago, and capacity limits at lodges and other facilities, officials announced Friday.

However, some Svalbard-related rules remain in effect, including travelers from abroad completing any entry quarantines on the mainland before travelling to the archipelago. Also, while Norway’s borders are opening to many more countries with fewer entry limits (on vaccinated persons in particular), travel from numerous countries considered at-risk (such as the U.S.) is still banned.

REVEALED – POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST IN SVALBARD IN JAN. 2020! Kim Holmén’s positive test after China trip set off panic among officials, but negative follow-up led to ‘no cases’ claims

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“The alarm bells are ringing. Not just in Longyearbyen. They call in the Norwegian Institute of Public Health top management. And the Minister of Health. And the Foreign Minister. And the Prime Minister. That Norway’s first case of COVID-19 has occurred in little Svalbard, with its four doctors, is almost catastrophic.”

That top-level panic in January of 2020, several weeks before a global pandemic was declared, remained unknown to the public until this week when a newly published book revealed a prominent scientist in Longyearbyen tested positive for the virus after returning from a trip to China.

While their fears were averted when a follow-up test was negative – resulting on what an official called “the best exercise we have had” in preparation for outbreaks – it means the claim Svalbard is one of the few places on Earth with no COVID-19 cases is, while not a lie, a distortion of the truth.