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Norway reports at least 50 Omicron cases linked to one office Christmas party

People stand on the sidewalk and ride scooters in Oslo.
People out on the streets in Oslo. Authorities in Norway say at least 50 people in the capital have been infected with the Omicron variant after a Christmas party.
(Naina Helén Jama / Associated Press)

At least 50 people in and around Norway’s capital have been infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant, and the cases are connected to a Norwegian company’s Christmas party in an Oslo restaurant, officials said Thursday.

“More cases are expected. Effective tracing is being done to limit transmission routes and prevent major outbreaks,” the Oslo Municipality said in a statement.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said that those affected live in Oslo and surrounding municipalities, and “the infection detection team in Oslo has contacted the municipalities concerned to start infection detection.”

The government agency said that there was “a high vaccination coverage” in the group, adding that overall “more than 50 cases” have been recorded in Norway. The country’s first two cases were announced Monday.

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As expected, the Omicron coronavirus variant, first detected last month, has reached the U.S., with the first case found in California.

On Wednesday, the city of Oslo urged people who visited two restaurants in the capital to be tested. One reportedly was where the Christmas party was held.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill and whether it can thwart vaccines.


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