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CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR SATURDAY: UNIS cancels summer classes, ‘doomsday vault’ meets COVID-19, MOSAiC updates, an hour of Sunday is ‘cancelled’ and more

playingwithblocks

This story will be updated throughout the day. Sure Mark, no problem. Photo of Tarjei Våtvik and his kids, Emmett and Liam, playing with blocks “Svalbard-style” taken by their mother, M Daiane Alvarenga Våtvik.

As if Longyearbyen hasn’t lost enough jobs, things to do and everything else due to the coronavirus pandemic, now we’re losing an hour of tomorrow.

That’s not COVID-19’s fault, of course, because Father Time was going to start Daylight Savings Time here at 2 a.m. Sunday regardless of how old he’s getting since he seems to have an immunity thing to the virus that still has no official cases in Svalbard as of 1 p.m. Saturday. But it is worth keeping in mind if, say, you’re hoping to go a community snowball fight scheduled at 2 p.m. Sunday at a place to be announced presumably well before then.

So far it appears Svalbard is experiencing its third straight abnormally quiet weekend –and remember, while it might seem forever ago, Norway’s quarantine has only been in effect since two weeks old Fridays ago. But with local tourism and public officials increasingly conceding longer-term consequences such as the near-total loss of the summer cruise ship season, other entities such as The University Centre in Svalbard are announcing similar cancellations.