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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.

“We encourage people to keep their distance, use hand alcohol, stay at home if you are ill, and test yourself if you have symptoms of infection,” Knut Selmer, the infection control doctor at Longyearbyen Hospital, said in a prepared statement. Also, “we recommend people use face masks in stores if it is not possible to keep their distance.”

The city is making free self-tests available at a distribution center that will be near the Næringsbygget administrative building.

“As soon as the distribution station is in operation, free self-tests will be distributed to priority groups in Longyearbyen, primarily people with respiratory symptoms, unvaccinated close contacts and kindergarten children, schoolchildren and students,” an announcement posted by the city notes. “Information on the exact location and opening hours of the distribution station will be posted as soon as this is ready.”

Svalbard was until last month one of the few places left in the world with no COVID-19 cases. Despite the inital cases detected, offiicials have stated there is no cause for undue alarm, in part because vaccinations have been fully provided to all adult residents wanting them.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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