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

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

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday 
Oslo Operahus. Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Oslo to hold press conference on Covid measures 

Oslo City Council will hold a press conference at 5pm on Tuesday. 

The city council is expected to announce when the next round of easing measures in the capital will be introduced. 

Last week, current coronavirus measures were extended until June 18th following a sharp rise in cases. 

READ MORE: Oslo extends coronavirus measures after cases rise by 87 percent 

Cases rose by 87 percent two weeks ago but have been falling since. 

Further easing of measures would mean the city initiates step three of its five-step plan to lift coronavirus restrictions. 

The Norwegian capital previously adopted a phased approach to the second step of its roadmap to lift infection control measures. 

Measures at step three include allowing more guests in the home and longer alcohol serving hours for hospitality. 

We will have the details covered for you in an article later.

Norway sets racism-free target 

Norway’s culture minister, Abid Raja, has set the ambitious target of making Norway the first country in the world free from racism. 

“I would like to launch a new major political goal for Norway: Become the first country in the world to get rid of racism,” Raja told newspaper VG.

The target comes after, in recent weeks, many Norwegians from Asian backgrounds have come forward with stories about the prejudices they have faced. 

“We are the world’s foremost country in so many incredible ways. Norway is the world’s second most equal country. We are the world’s best country for journalists. We are in the top 5-6 top countries in the world for LGBTIQ people. We have a zero vision of death in traffic and a zero vision for suicide. It does not make sense that we don’t have the goal of being racism-free as well,” Raja told the paper. 

Damming report on state of air ambulance service in the north 

A new report has slammed the state of the air ambulance service in northern Norway. 

The report was conducted by Norway’s health watchdog, the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision, and was critical of the state of Norway’s air ambulance service. 

“The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision has concluded that the regional health authorities have not provided sound and coordinated ambulance flight services for patients in northern Norway in need of immediate help,” the report outlined. 

Due to sparse populations and long distances between hospitals in northern Norway, many patients are dependent on air ambulances to get them to hospital. 

The Norwegian Board of Health’s review found that in 13 out of 20 cases, it took air ambulance services more than 60 minutes to take off after being notified. 

“These are important and serious finding that I will ask the health regions to address,” Health Minister Bent Høie told state broadcaster NRK

195 new Covid cases 

On Monday, 195 coronavirus cases were registered across Norway, 14 more than the seven-day average of 181. 

In Oslo, 27 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, 15 less than the seven-day average for infections in the capital.

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 0.9. This means that every ten people that are infected will, on average, only infect another nine people, indicating that the infection level is declining.

Total number of Covid-19 cases in Norway. Source: NIPH

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Did Sweden’s state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

For his supporters, it was well-deserved, for his detractors a case of failing upwards. But when Sweden's Public Health Agency announced this month that state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell was taking a job at the World Health Organisation, both sides assumed it was true.

Did Sweden's state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

Now, it seems, the job might not be there after all. 

At the start of this month, Sweden’s Public Health Agency announced that Anders Tegnell was resigning to take up a post coordinating vaccine work with the World Health Organisation in Geneva. 

“I’ve worked with vaccines for 30 years and have at the same time always been inspired by international issues,” Tegnell said in the release. “Now I will have the chance to contribute to this comprehensive international work.”

During the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tegnell shot immediately from obscurity into the spotlight, gaining such celebrity status in Sweden that one fan had his profile tattooed onto his arm.

Internationally he was hailed by lockdown sceptics for his reasoned arguments against overly restrictive measures to control the spread of the virus. 

His new WHO appointment was reported all over the world. 

But on Tuesday, the Svenska Daglabdet newspaper revealed that the job had not yet been awarded. A spokesperson for the WHO said at a press conference in Geneva that “there is some confusion”, and that “this is an internal question.” 

According to the newspaper, there is even “a certain level of irritation” behind the scenes at the WHO that Sweden acted too soon and dispatched Tegnell to a job that did not actually exist yet. 

“We have received an offer from Sweden, which is still under discussion,” the organisation’s press spokesperson, Fadela Chaib, told the newspaper. 

On Thursday, the Public Health Agency’s press chief Christer Janson conceded that there had been a mistake and that the negotiation had not been completed.  

“We believed it was done, but it wasn’t,” he told Expressen in an interview. “It’s been a much longer process to get this completed than we thought. There’s been a misunderstanding and we regret that.”