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Solar company’s Christmas party blamed for Omicron-variant Covid outbreak in Oslo

A Christmas party held by Norwegian renewables company Scatec ten days ago has been blamed for an outbreak of cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Oslo.

News service Reuters on Friday reported the first confirmed case of Omicron-variant Covid-19 in the Norwegian capital had been linked to the event and quoted the City of Oslo as stating: “Health authorities have confirmed a further 12 cases of Omicron in Oslo after an outbreak … More cases are expected.”

The news wire report said at least one attendee of the event, reportedly held on Friday, November 26, had “just returned from South Africa.” The Omicron variant of Covid-19 was first sequenced and reported to the World Health Organization in Southern Africa, where Scatec has solar power operations.

Reuters stated all attendees of the Scatec Christmas event were fully vaccinated and had tested negative for Covid-19 before the gathering, without providing further details. Friday’s report added, none of the 13 confirmed cases had resulted in hospitalization and the people affected had suffered only mild symptoms. “This is not unexpected, given the young age of the participants,” Reuters was told by Preben Aavitsland, a senior physician at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, who described the Scatec gathering as a “super spreader” event and said a working hypothesis was that “at least half of the 120 participants were infected with the Omicron variant during the party.”

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pv magazine contacted Scatec to ask whether the number of confirmed Omicron-variant cases is still 13 and whether any of the people affected has manifested more than mild symptoms of the virus. We were referred to a news article run by Norwegian online business site E24 yesterday which stated the number of confirmed cases remained 13 and no-one had displayed more than mild symptoms.

A Scatec spokesperson said enquiries about the health of Covid-19 patients should be referred to the Norwegian health authorities, and added: “Scatec can comment on how [Covid-19] has affected our operations, and that is that it has a limited effect. Our operations are outside of Norway and not impacted by the outbreak. Our head office has long experience [of] working from home and the outbreak will have limited effect.”

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Source: pv magazine