- Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

Nordics Knocked Down by Record COVID-19 Infection, Hospitalisation Rates

© AP Photo / NTB SCANPIXFILE PHOTO: The National Institute of Public Health's new app Smittestopp (Infection Stop) for infection tracking is pictured, in Oslo, Norway April 16, 2020. Picture taken April 16, 2020
FILE PHOTO: The National Institute of Public Health's new app Smittestopp (Infection Stop) for infection tracking is pictured, in Oslo, Norway April 16, 2020. Picture taken April 16, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.12.2021
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All Nordic nations bar Sweden, whose COVID-19 dynamic is somewhat different due to an outlier strategy chosen at the onset of the pandemic, are now seeing record infection rates, with hospitalisations soaring as well, amid a spread of the novel Omicron strain.
Scandinavia, one of Europe's most vaccinated regions, is now seeing record COVID-19 infection rates.
In Denmark, the daily infection figure has broken yet another record, with 8,773 cases registered in the last 24 hours. Every day this week, a new daily infection record has been set, the State Serum Institute announced.
The number of hospital admissions is on a par with figures from February of this year, the previous peak.
In addition, the number of registered cases of the novel Omicron strain in the country has increased by 1,512 in the last 24 hours, to a total of 6,047 cases.
Among those who have tested positive for COVID-19 is Crown Princess Mary, who is married to the heir to Denmark’s throne, Crown Prince Frederik, the Danish royal family announced on Wednesday. So far, no further infection has been confirmed in the royal family.
In Finland, which many newspapers and magazines, including Germany's Der Spiegel, have hailed as the poster child of handling the COVID-19 pandemic, is seeing record infection rates as well.
With the daily figure reaching 2,225 COVID cases, according to the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), and the Omicron strain on the rise, Finland is considering tighter border rules.
Norway, meanwhile, has broken its COVID-19 morbidity record since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020 with 6,003 new cases. In its last weekly report, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health cited a 25-percent spike.
The country has also seen record number of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals at 375. Of them, 64 are on respirators, and 122 are in intensive care, the Norwegian Directorate of Health reported.
Vials labelled VACCINE Coronavirus COVID-19 and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed flag of Norway in this illustration taken December 11, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.12.2021
Omicron COVID Strain
Norway Introduces Alcohol Ban, Remote Work Amid Raging Omicron Infection
Sweden, whose COVID-19 dynamic is somewhat different from the rest of Europe due to an outlier strategy at the onslaught of the pandemic, is seeing a near-universal rise in hospital admissions across the entire country, with its Public Health Agency warning that new restrictions may be in the pipeline.
Among others, Ulf Kristersson, the fully vaccinated leader of the liberal-conservative Moderate Party, leader has tested positive for COVID-19, despite the official party line being that the vaccine provides “full protection against the virus”.
The Moderates announced that the planned Christmas speech by Ulf Kristersson had been cancelled. The news outlet Fria Tider pointed out that this decision runs counter to the Moderates' line on the issue, which is that fully vaccinated people cannot spread the infection.

“There is no reason to deny those who have full protection against the virus the opportunity to go to the theatre, football matches, concerts and everything else that is for the joy of people's lives,” Kristersson wrote in the newspaper Expressen earlier this year.

With rates above 70 percent, Scandinavia remains one of the most-vaccinated regions of Europe, with booster shots now being administered.
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