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Omicron outbreak at Norway Christmas get together is largest outdoors S. Africa, authorities say


Syringes ready with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for Covid-19 at a vaccination middle on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021.

Michaela Handrek-Rehle | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

At the very least 13 folks in Oslo have been contaminated with the omicron variant of the coronavirus following a company Christmas get together described as a “tremendous spreader occasion,” and their numbers may rise to over 60 instances, authorities mentioned on Friday.

The outbreak occurred at a Christmas get together on Nov. 26 organized by renewable power firm Scatec, which has operations in South Africa the place the variant was first detected.

“This get together has been an excellent spreader occasion,” Preben Aavitsland, a senior doctor on the Norwegian Institute of Public Well being, informed Reuters by e mail.

“Our working speculation is that no less than half of the 120 individuals have been contaminated with the omicron variant through the get together. This makes this, for now, the most important omicron outbreak outdoors South Africa.”

Except for the folks contaminated on the get together, Aavitsland mentioned, two folks residing on the nation’s west coast and two folks in quarantine at Oslo airport have been confirmed as carrying the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The outbreak led the Norwegian authorities to reintroduce some nationwide restrictions to curb the unfold of Covid-19.

Throughout Europe, firms are cancelling Christmas get together plans as a result of emergence of the omicron variant.

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The primary individual in Oslo confirmed as contaminated had attended the get together, the place no less than one worker had simply returned from South Africa. All of the attendees have been absolutely vaccinated and had examined adverse earlier than the occasion.

“Well being authorities have confirmed an additional 12 instances of omicron in Oslo after an outbreak,” the town of Oslo mentioned in an announcement. “To date 13 omicron instances have been confirmed after sequencing. Extra instances are anticipated.”

Well being authorities mentioned the people contaminated have been thus far displaying delicate signs, with none hospitalized.

“It’s nonetheless too early to say whether or not the scientific image of the illness is totally different in Omicron infections than in Delta infections,” Aavitsland mentioned.

“Not one of the sufferers has extreme signs; none is hospitalised. Nevertheless, this isn’t surprising given the younger age of the individuals.”

Scatec mentioned it had been following authorities’ recommendation all through the pandemic. It additionally mentioned its focus was on caring for its workers and on limiting the unfold of the virus.