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Christmas party in Norway infects up to 60 in suspected omicron outbreak

Christmas party in Norway infects up to 60 in suspected omicron outbreak
If confirmed, it will be the world’s biggest omicron outbreak to date

More than 50 people in Norway have been infected with Covid after a Christmas party that is likely to prove the world’s biggest outbreak of the new omicron variant.

One of the party-goers has tested positive for the omicron variant, and more cases are expected to follow, Oslo’s authorities said on Thursday.

“We are working actively with contact tracing to limit the spread and prevent bigger outbreaks,” the city said in a statement.

Doctors said between 50 and 60 people tested positive for coronavirus after the party last week at a restaurant in Oslo, according to the Norwegian state broadcaster NRK.

The doctors said the infections were not delta variant cases, and that there were “clear clues” and a “strong possibility” they were all the omicron variant.

Tine Ravlo, assistant chief infection control doctor in Oslo’s Frogner district, said a preliminary screening of the cases’ samples showed it was likely it was omicron.

One of the people at the party had reportedly been to South Africa recently.

There have so far been at least three confirmed omicron cases in Norway.

On Friday Norway imposed a quarantine on any travellers arriving from South Africa or neighbouring countries, following a similar decision by its neighbour Denmark and many other countries around the world.

In the UK, which has recorded at least 30 omicron cases, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he did not want people to cancel their Christmas parties despite warnings from health officials to avoid socialising unless necessary.