Round half of the individuals who attended an workplace Christmas get together in Oslo, the place solely vaccinated workers have been admitted, have examined optimistic for the coronavirus after one visitor just lately returned from South Africa was discovered to hold the brand new Omicron variant, native well being authorities mentioned on Friday.

Greater than 120 folks attended the occasion, held every week in the past by a solar energy firm. Of the optimistic exams sequenced up to now, between 15 and 20 have been more likely to be the Omicron variant, in keeping with Dr. Tine Ravlo, an area chief doctor concerned in monitoring the outbreak, who added that not all the 60 coronavirus circumstances discovered up to now had but been absolutely checked for the variant.

“We predict extra of them to doubtless be Omicron infections,” she mentioned.

A spokesman for the corporate, Scatec, mentioned that solely vaccinated employees had been admitted to the get together, and everybody had examined adverse for the coronavirus earlier than the occasion.

The get together was held at a restaurant known as Louise in central Oslo on Nov. 26, the identical day that the World Well being Group labeled Omicron a “variant of concern” and lots of international locations began closing their borders to passengers from southern Africa, the place it was first recognized.

The variant carries mutations that scientists say might permit it to unfold extra shortly and to trigger extra breakthrough infections, although a lot stays unsure. Circumstances have now been reported in additional than 40 international locations, including in america.

The Scatec spokesman, Stian Tvede Karlsen, mentioned that the worker first discovered to have the variant had arrived again in Norway from visiting a regional workplace in Cape City earlier than information of the variant had come out.

In an effort to curb additional unfold of the variant, the Norwegian authorities introduced on Thursday further restrictions in and round Oslo. Enforcement began at midnight.

They embody the duty to put on masks anyplace that social distance can’t be maintained, together with on subways and buses or in retailers; a return to working from dwelling if attainable; and a cap on crowds of 100 folks, besides at theaters and different locations with fastened seats, the place as much as 600 could be current. Solely desk service is permitted for alcoholic drinks, and eating places and occasions must register friends.

In different information from all over the world:

  • Nightclubs, eating places and cinemas in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest metropolis, reopened to vaccinated customers on Friday, greater than 100 days after the town went into lockdown due to an outbreak of the Delta variant. The reopening comes because the nation moved to its new post-vaccination “visitors mild” classification system, during which unvaccinated persons are principally shut out of public life.

  • Officers in South Korea mentioned on Friday that they might temporarily reverse the phased reopening they began last month, decreasing the cap on group sizes for social gatherings and requiring proof of vaccination or a adverse coronavirus check for entry to eating places, cafes and different services beginning subsequent week. The announcement got here as almost 80 % of the nation’s hospital beds for sufferers with extreme sickness have been in use, and days after six circumstances of the Omicron variant have been confirmed amongst inbound vacationers.

  • Eire introduced on Friday new restrictions forward of the Omicron variant’s inevitable arrival, Reuters reported. Beginning Tuesday and till Jan. 9, indoor occasions might be capped at half capability, bars and eating places can seat tables of solely six folks or fewer, nightclubs will shut and residents can host not more than three different households in their very own properties. The federal government will restart its Pandemic Unemployment Cost program for many who work within the leisure trade and lose work due to the measures.

  • A pair of hippopotamuses on the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium have examined optimistic for the coronavirus, The Related Press reported. Imani, 14, and Hermien, 41, at the moment are in isolation, and their enclosure might be shuttered to the general public till the land mammals check adverse. The circumstances are the primary recorded situations of the coronavirus within the species. It’s unclear how they acquired it.