Omicron’s outbreak at a Norwegian Christmas party was the largest outside of South Africa, the authorities said

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On Thursday, December 2, 2021, a syringe prepared for Covid-19 with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the vaccination center.

Michaela Handrek-Rehle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Authorities said on Friday that at least 13 people in Oslo were infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus after a corporate Christmas party known as the “super spreader incident,” and their number could rise to more than 60 cases.

The outbreak occurred on November 26 at a Christmas party organized by the renewable energy company Scatec, which started operations in South Africa where the variant was first discovered.

Preben Aavitsland, a senior physician at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, told Reuters via email: “This party is a super-spreader incident.”

“Our working hypothesis is that at least half of the 120 participants were infected with the omicron variant during the gathering. This makes this the largest omicron outbreak outside of South Africa.”

Aavitsland said that in addition to those infected at the party, two people living on the west coast of the country and two people isolated at Oslo Airport have been confirmed to carry the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The outbreak caused the Norwegian government to re-implement some restrictions across the country to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Throughout Europe, due to the emergence of omicron variants, the company is canceling Christmas party plans.

reunion

The first person diagnosed with infection in Oslo attended the gathering, where at least one employee had just returned from South Africa. All participants have been vaccinated and tested negative before the event.

The city of Oslo said in a statement: “After the outbreak, health authorities have confirmed another 12 omicron cases in Oslo.” “So far, 13 omicron cases have been confirmed after sequencing. More cases are expected.”

Health authorities said that so far, the infected people have shown mild symptoms and no one has been hospitalized.

“It is too early to say whether the clinical manifestations of Omicron infection and Delta infection are different,” Aavitsland said.

“None of the patients had severe symptoms; no one was hospitalized. However, considering the age of the participants, this is not surprising.”

Scatec stated that it has been following the recommendations of the authorities throughout the pandemic. It also stated that its focus is on taking care of employees and limiting the spread of the virus.


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