First Covid Cases in Svalbard

Longyearbyen er i endring både fysisk og samfunnsmessig
The pandemic has reached Longyearbyen. (Photo: Line Nagell Ylvisåker)

Several cases of Covid-19 have been registered in Longyearbyen.

Thursday night, Governor of Svalbard Lars Fause announced that several people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Longyearbyen. This is the first time there are cases of corona infection in Svalbard.

The Chief Infection Control Doctor in Longyearbyen recommends several measures. The Longyearbyen Local Council will also hand out free self-tests, the Governor says in a statement.

Both residents and visitors are infected. The situation was discussed in a meeting of the Svalbard emergency preparedness council Thursday. The members of this council agree that there is currently no need to impose strict measures.


"We encourage people to keep their distance and use hand alcohol, stay at home if you are ill and test yourself if you have symptoms of infection", says Chief Infection Control Doctor Knut Selmer at Longyearbyen hospital.

"We recommend people to use face masks in stores if it is not possible to keep their distance", he says.

Longyearbyen Local Council will establish a distribution station for self-tests near the main business building [Næringsbygget].

Monitoring the situation

As soon as the distribution station is operative, free self-tests will be distributed to priority groups in Longyearbyen, primarily people with symptoms of illness, unvaccinated close contacts and kindergarten children, school children, and students.

Information on the location and opening hours of the distribution station will be posted as soon as this is available.

"We support the advice of the Chief Infection Control Doctor. We are monitoring the situation closely and are in touch with the Chief Infection Control Doctor and Longyearbyen Local Council, as well as national health authorities", says Svalbard Governor Lars Fause.

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