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Norway, Ukraine, Singapore virus cases up

A surge in coronavirus cases has been reported by health officials in Norway, Ukraine and Singapore.

A top Norwegian health official said the country “must be prepared for a bigger wave” of COVID-19 infections in the northern hemisphere winter amid an increase in cases.

“Based on an overall assessment, we believe it is likely that we will get a wave (of infections) during the winter,” said Camilla Stoltenberg, head of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

But, with more than 86.6 per cent of those 18 and over vaccinated in Norway, she said she did not expect a large surge of hospitalisations.

The city of Tromsoe in northern Norway said on Thursday it had registerd 62 new cases in the last day, a local record.

Gunnar Wilhelmsen, mayor of the city of 77,000, said authorities were recommending using face masks, physical distancing and working from home.

On Wednesday, Norway reported 1144 new COVID-19 cases, close to double the amount from a week ago.

Norwegian health officials said technical issues meant no figures for Thursday were available.

In Sweden, the country’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell noted an increase in infections in eastern Europe and added, “we also have a serious situation in the western parts of Europe”.

“There are some signs that this will also be a winter with extensive spread of COVID-19,” he told a press conference.

Across the Baltic Sea, Estonia decided on Thursday to extend the use of face masks in public places for both unvaccinated as well as vaccinated people.

People who fail to do so could face fines.

Residents of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv will have to present vaccine certificates to use restaurants, gyms and public transport from Monday, the city authorities said on Thursday after the country reported new record high daily COVID-19 cases.

The health ministry said Ukraine registered a record 26,071 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, exceeding the previous high of 23,785 on October 22.

The ministry’s data also showed 576 new coronavirus-related deaths.

“Ukraine is at the highest levels for the entire pandemic for each of the indicators – the number of new daily cases, hospitalisations and deaths,” Health Minister Viktor Lyashko told a televised briefing.

Ukraine’s pandemic tally of infections stands at 2.85 million, with 66,204 deaths.

The Ukrainian capital will tighten restrictions due to a spike in coronavirus cases, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at a televised briefing.

“We are imposing these severe restrictions because there are no other options to save the health and life of people, to prevent the collapse of the medical system, which may not be able to withstand such an influx of patients,” Klitschko said.

A government commission on Thursday declared Kyiv a “red zone” area, a designation that carries the most severe restrictions.

From November 1, restaurants, gyms, shopping and entertainment facilities will only be allowed to operate if all staff are vaccinated.

These institutions are also prohibited from accepting visitors who do not have vaccination certificates or negative COVID-19 tests.

A negative test or vaccine certificate will also be mandatory to use public transport.

Singapore’s health ministry reported 3432 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday after recording a highest single-day rise in cases the previous day, while it recorded 15 new deaths from the disease.

A recent spike in infections after the relaxation of some restrictions has prompted Singapore to pause further reopening.

The city-state extended its social curbs last week to contain the spread of COVID-19 for around a month in order to ease the pressure on the healthcare system.

Singapore’s health ministry said that it is looking into an “unusual surge” of 5324 new infections of COVID-19 reported on Wednesday, its highest such figure since the beginning of the pandemic.

More than 80 per cent of Singapore’s population has been vaccinated against the virus.

with Reuters

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