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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Find out what's going on in Norway on Wednesday with The Local's short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Trondheim harbour. Photo by Carlo Alberto Burato on Unsplash

Norway passes 2 million vaccines administered
Norway has now administered more than 2 million vaccines in total, health authorities have announced.

According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Nordic country passed the landmark on Tuesday evening.

Since the first vaccine dose was given on December 27th, 2020, Norway has administered 2,019,546 doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

READ MORE: Norway to offer everyone second Covid-19 vaccine by end of August

So far, 1,503,794 people have received their first dose, and 515,752 people have received their second dose.

“I want to say a big thank you to all those who are out in the municipalities and who ensure such good progress is being made. I am delighted that the vaccination program in Norway continues at a good pace,” Health Minister, Bent Høie, told news agency NTB.

Number of gambling addicts seeking help during the pandemic rises sharply
The number of people who contacted Gambling Addiction Norway for the first time rose sharply in 2020.

792 people contacted Gambling Addiction Norway compared to 436 the year before, an increase of 82 percent.

Furthermore, the organisation says that numbers this year compare similarly with last year.

“We have never such high numbers before,” Lill-Tove Bergmo, leader of the organisation.

Current Coronavirus restrictions in Oslo extended until end of May
Oslo’s local Covid-19 restrictions will not be relaxed until May 27th t at the earliest.

Next week, the city council will decide whether the city will have more measures lifted at the end of May.

The city has adopted a phased approach to the second step of its five-step plan to reopen.

READ MORE: Oslo relaxes Covid restrictions with shops and malls to reopen 

The next set of measures that will be lifted will see bar’s and restaurants reopen and serve alcohol, along with gyms reopening.

“I understand that the hospitality industry and owners and users of gyms are getting impatient. The first part of step two of the reopening plan seems to have gone well, but we must still be careful. If infections stay low, then it should be possible to open restaurants, gyms, museums and more before may is over,” the city’s mayor, Raymond Johansen, said.

Decline in Norwegian economy in the first quarter
GDP for mainland Norway fell by one percent in the first quarter, according to seasonally adjusted figures.

There was an economic decline in each of the first three months of the year due to increased coronavirus infections and stricter infection control measures that sure retail and hospitality close in parts of the country.

READ MORE: Explained: What Norway’s revised budget means for you 

Total GDP, which accounts for offshore oil and gas extraction, and foreign shipping, fell by 0.6 percent.

Mainland Norway’s GDP was two percent lower in March 2021 compared to when the pandemic began.

473 new Covid-19 infections recorded
On Tuesday, 473 coronavirus infections were registered, a decrease of 36 on the seven-day average.

In Oslo, 86 cases were recorded on Tuesday, 23 less than the seven-day average.

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 0.7. This means that the pandemic is receding in Norway as for every ten people that are infected, they will, on average, only infect another seven people.

Total number of Covid-19 cases. Source: NIPH

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RENTING

Rental prices in Norway’s biggest cities continue to rise

The cost of renting in Norway's four largest cities rose overall during the third quarter, with prices up six percent this year, figures from Real Estate Norway show. 

Rental prices in Norway's biggest cities continue to rise

A sharp increase in rent prices in Norway continued throughout the third quarter, figures from Real Estate Norway (Eiendom Norge) released on Tuesday show. 

“Real Estate Norway’s rental housing price statistics show a historically strong rise in rental housing prices in Norway in the third quarter,” Henning Lauridsen, CEO of Real Estate Norway, stated in a report on the latest figures. 

Growth was most robust in Stavanger and Oslo, according to Real Estate Norway. 

“The strong growth in rental prices we have seen in the wake of the pandemic continued in the third quarter, and it is particularly in the Stavanger region and in Oslo that the growth in rental prices is strong,” Lauridsen said. 

Stavanger and nearby Sandnes saw the largest price increases, with the cost of renting there increasing by 4.7 percent during the third quarter. During the same period, rents in Oslo increased by 2.5 percent, while a marginal 0.3 percent rise was recorded in Trondheim. 

While the cost of renting in Norway’s four largest cities overall increased by 2 percent, rental prices in Bergen declined. There, rents fell by 2.5 percent in the third quarter.

Lauridsen said that the increase in rental prices was likely to continue due to several factors. High inflation, interest rates, increased taxes on rental properties and a low supply of homes on the market all contributed to increasing rents. 

However, he did note that the supply of rental homes on the market had increased in Trondheim and Oslo since the summer. 

Lauridsen said that the least well-off financially were being hit hardest by rent rises. Previously, the Norwegian government has informed The Local that it will not introduce a temporary cap on rent increases. 

READ MORE: Norway’s government rules out a temporary rent cap

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