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Daily Archives: 25. August 2020 − News & Stories


Tra­vel restric­tions for tou­rists from Ger­ma­ny and Liech­ten­stein likely to come

The Nor­we­gi­an Insti­tu­te of Public Health (Fol­ke­hels­e­insti­tutt, FHI) has recom­men­ded to intro­du­ce com­pul­so­ry qua­ran­ti­ne for tou­rists com­ing from Ger­ma­ny and Liech­ten­stein, based on rising coro­na infec­tion figu­res from the­se coun­tries.

Corona: travel restrictions Norway

“Valid in all of Euro­pe” – Coro­na virus warning.
(Pho­to com­po­si­ti­on. This is in rea­li­ty of cour­se the famous polar bear warning sign).

The Nor­we­gi­an government has to make a decisi­on whe­ther or not such restric­tions will be intro­du­ced. Gene­ral­ly, the government will most likely fol­low the FHI’s recom­men­da­ti­ons. The Nor­we­gi­an thres­hold for the intro­duc­tion of restric­tions is an infec­tion rate of 20 per 100,000 inha­bi­tants wit­hin 14 days (two weeks and not one, as was erro­ne­ous­ly writ­ten here in an ear­lier ver­si­on of this arti­cle). Accord­ing to the Robert Koch-Insti­tu­te, a federal agen­cy respon­si­ble for dise­a­se con­trol and pre­ven­ti­on in Ger­ma­ny, the figu­re amounts to 10.2 aver­aged for Ger­ma­ny as of Tues­day, 25 August for the last 7 days, and hig­her figu­res occur in cer­tain are­as. So far, the Nor­we­gi­an government has made regio­nal decisi­ons only for Scan­di­na­vi­an coun­tries.

If the Nor­we­gi­an government deci­des to intro­du­ce tra­vel restric­tions for Ger­may and Liech­ten­stein, then they are expec­ted to come into for­ce on Satur­day at 00:00. The FHI has alrea­dy sent text messages to Nor­we­gi­an mobi­le pho­ne num­bers in Ger­ma­ny with a warning that com­pul­so­ry qua­ran­ti­ne may app­ly for tra­vel­lers ent­e­ring Nor­way later than Fri­day.

Polar bears flown out from Lon­gye­ar­by­en area

Again, Lon­gye­ar­by­en had polar bear visi­tors, and not just once: a polar bear that had tried to break into several huts in Hior­th­hamn, on the north side of Advent­fjord just 2.5 km away from Lon­gye­ar­by­en, was sca­red away by the poli­ce (Sys­sel­man­nen) with fla­re gun shots.

Shopping Lompensenter Longyearbyen

Polar bear inspec­ting a hut in Hior­th­hamn near Lon­gye­ar­by­en (archi­ve image).

Not much later, a fema­le bear and a cub came to the same area. In this case, the aut­ho­ri­ties deci­ded quick­ly to ana­es­the­ti­se the bears and to fly them away with a heli­co­p­ter. A simi­lar ope­ra­ti­on ear­lier this year had had a fatal out­co­me for the bear, an event that later attrac­ted sub­stan­ti­al cri­ti­cism in the public but also from rele­vant Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties. As a con­se­quence, the rou­ti­nes were impro­ved this time: Jon Aars, lea­ding polar bear sci­en­tist of the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te (NP), was per­so­nal­ly pre­sent, tog­e­ther with a vet – a new pro­ce­du­re for the NP. A dif­fe­rent drug was used and the bears were given addi­tio­nal oxy­gen during the flight and an anti­do­te upon arri­val to give them an acce­le­ra­ted wake-up, a pro­cess that was also super­vi­sed this time, as Aars told Sval­bard­pos­ten.

As the two bears were known to be resi­dent in Isfjord, the­re were flown to the nor­thwest part of this fjord, rather than to a remo­ter area such as Nord­aus­t­land or Edgeøya, as is com­mon in such cases.

The bears were said to be well. The mother is 15 years old and rela­tively thin, some­thing that is not unusu­al con­si­de­ring her age and the sea­son. Nevertheless, she weig­hed several 100 kg. Most likely, they had recent­ly found some­thing to feed on. The cub weighs 49 kg and is said to be in good con­di­ti­on.

Spits­ber­gen blog 2020: Sas­sen­fjord

The Arc­tic sea­son 2020, at least as we know it, went com­ple­te­ly to the bin. But I don’t want to moan about that now, I rather appre­cia­te that the sum­mer nevertheless gave us qui­te a bit of arc­tic beau­ty. Just in a dif­fe­rent way. The boat was a bit smal­ler than what we usual­ly use, so we went to a cou­p­le of beau­ti­ful pla­ces in Isfjord, rather than ven­tu­ring to Nord­aus­t­land or Edgeøya.

Over a while, I will share a cou­p­le of pho­tos of our recent excur­si­ons in Spits­ber­gen. A bit dif­fe­rent from what we usual­ly have, in “nor­mal” years … we start with a Zodiac trip to Sas­sen­fjord. Beau­ti­ful land­s­cape, arc­tic silence, friend­ly rein­de­er, lovely flowers – inclu­ding some of the more rare ones such as Mer­ten­sia mari­ti­ma and the Nort­hern Jacobslad­der – and fos­sils (shells and ammo­ni­tes from the Juras­sic. Fla­vou­red with fine wea­ther and ple­nty of time. Life in the Arc­tic 🙂

Gal­le­ri: Sas­sen­fjord – Del­ta­ne­set

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

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