Tag Archives: COVID-19

Pressure grows for Biden to ease pandemic travel bans

The Biden administration is coming under pressure to ease travel bans for international tourists that were originally put in place to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Europe opening its borders to American tourists and vaccination rates increasing in the U.S., public health experts and travel industry groups are saying the time is right to restart international travel. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the U.S. is looking to the advice of medical experts on the best course of action, but that a group of American and European officials are working together on an agreement. 

Read more HERE

Covid-19: U.S. to Require Negative Virus Tests From International Air Travelers

The Trump administration expanded vaccine eligibility to all Americans over 65 as part of an effort to accelerate distribution. New York is setting up a mass vaccination site at the Mets’ home stadium.

Before boarding their flights, all international passengers headed to the United States will first need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test, according to a new federal policy going into effect on Jan. 26.

Read the full article here

IBM Uncovers Global Phishing Campaign Targeting the COVID-19 Vaccine Cold Chain

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, IBM Security X-Force created a threat intelligence task force dedicated to tracking down COVID-19 cyber threats against organizations that are keeping the vaccine supply chain moving. As part of these efforts, our team recently uncovered a global phishing campaign targeting organizations associated with a COVID-19 cold chain. The cold chain is a component of the vaccine supply chain that ensures the safe preservation of vaccines in temperature-controlled environments during their storage and transportation.

Our analysis indicates that this calculated operation started in September 2020. The COVID-19 phishing campaign spanned across six countries and targeted organizations likely associated with Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance’s Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP) program, which we explain further in this blog. While firm attribution could not be established for this campaign, the precision targeting of executives and key global organizations hold the potential hallmarks of nation-state tradecraft.

Some details from IBM Security X-Force’s analysis of this activity include:

  • The Cover Story — The adversary impersonated a business executive from Haier Biomedical, a credible and legitimate member company of the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and qualified supplier for the CCEOP program. The company is purportedly the world’s only complete cold chain provider. Disguised as this employee, the adversary sent phishing emails to organizations believed to be providers of material support to meet transportation needs within the COVID-19 cold chain. We assess that the purpose of this COVID-19 phishing campaign may have been to harvest credentials, possibly to gain future unauthorized access to corporate networks and sensitive information relating to the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
  • The Targets — The targets included the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union, as well as organizations within the energy, manufacturing, website creation and software and internet security solutions sectors. These are global organizations headquartered in Germany, Italy, South Korea, Czech Republic, greater Europe and Taiwan.
  • The How — Spear-phishing emails were sent to select executives in sales, procurement, information technology and finance positions, likely involved in company efforts to support a vaccine cold chain. We also identified instances where this activity extended organization-wide to include help and support pages of targeted organizations.

IBM Security X-Force has followed responsible disclosure protocols and notified the appropriate entities and authorities about this targeted operation.

Alert for the COVID-19 Supply Chain

IBM Security X-Force urges companies in the COVID-19 supply chain — from research of therapies, healthcare delivery to distribution of a vaccine — to be vigilant and remain on high alert during this time. Governments have already warned that foreign entities are likely to attempt to conduct cyber espionage to steal information about vaccines. Today, in conjunction with this blog, DHS CISA is issuing an alert encouraging organizations associated with the storage and transport of a vaccine to review this research and recommended best practices to remain vigilant.

Continue Reading

Abbott/Roche Covid-19 hurtigtester til landets kommuner

Et prøveprosjekt i Oslo kommune viser at hurtigtestene som nå skal sendes til hele landet har en treffsikkerhet på 74,4 prosent. – Testene er gode, sier assisterende helsedirektør Espen Nakstad til VG.

Hurtigtestene blir fordelt etter kommunenes folketall, skriver Helsedirektoratet i et informasjonsbrev sendt til alle landets kommuner torsdag formiddag.

Helsedirektoratet har bestilt i alt 5 millioner hurtigtester, og omlag én million av disse skal fra 7. desember sendes ut til landets kommuner. Noen kommuner med utbrudd har allerede mottatt tester.

Fordeling vil skje etter innbyggertall slik at hver kommune skal få et antall hurtigtester tilsvarende 20 prosent av kommunens innbyggere, skriver Helsedirektoratet i brevet.

Les mer

Reuters: Norway to keep virus restrictions until mid-December

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway must maintain its most recent coronavirus restrictions for now and needs at least another three weeks to assess whether they can be lifted, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday.

European governments are grappling with the spread of the disease while people want to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel. We must hold on,” Solberg told a news conference, adding that authorities could offer vaccines to vulnerable groups early next year, if European health authorities approve vaccines by the end of this year.

Non-EU Norway will get access to vaccines obtained by the EU, thanks to Sweden, an EU member that will buy more than it needs and sell them to Norway.

Norway’s 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants was 150.9 as of Tuesday, the fourth-lowest in Europe behind Iceland, Finland and Ireland, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

But there are regional disparities and authorities are concerned about Oslo and other major cities.

On Nov. 6, Oslo shut theatres, cinemas, training centres and swimming pools, with bars and restaurants no longer able to serve alcohol, causing many to close altogether.

Over the past two weeks, the number of new infections has been stable in the capital.

Nationwide, the reproduction rate has fallen to 1.0 since Nov. 5 from 1.4 between Oct. 26 and Nov. 5, meaning that one infected person infects only one other person on average, down from 1.4 persons previously.

Solberg said that while there were some positive signs, this was not the time to lift nationwide restrictions, which include masks, limiting public gatherings to 20 people and quarantining people arriving from abroad.

WSJ: Finland and Norway Avoid Covid-19 Lockdowns but Keep the Virus At Bay

Tight controls on travel and borders—and political consensus—helped the Nordic nations fight the pandemic

While the U.S. and Europe struggle to contain an autumn surge in coronavirus infections, two small nations are bucking the trend, keeping cases under control without stringent restrictions.

In the north of Europe, Finland and Norway boast the West’s lowest rates of mortality linked to Covid-19 and a low incidence of coronavirus infections even though they have kept their economies and societies largely open while lockdowns returned to the continent.

Read the full story

Norwegian Air may not survive the pandemic

London (CNN Business)Norwegian Air wanted to bring a low-cost business model to transatlantic flights. It’s quickly running out of runway.
The coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions have forced Norwegian Air to ground the vast majority of its fleet, and furlough almost all of its workers. The heavily indebted carrier’s stock has collapsed, and its cash reserves are nearly exhausted.
“Norwegian is dependent on additional working capital in order to continue operating through the first quarter of 2021 and beyond,” the airline said Tuesday as it reported its latest financial results.
One potential rescuer has already turned its back on the airline that once had ambitions to repeat Ryanair’s (RYAAY) short-haul success on longer routes. Norwegian Air said on Monday that the Norwegian government has ruled out providing it with more financial assistance, leaving the carrier in what it described as a “challenging situation.”
Read the full article here.

Royal Norwegian Embassy: New Travel Restrictions to Norway

Norway introduces new restrictions on travel from Monday 9th of November. Requirements for testing upon arrival are being introduced and travellers may be placed in quarantine hotels after entry to the country.

Norway introduces new restrictions on travel from Monday 9th of November. Requirements for testing upon arrival are being introduced and travellers may be placed in quarantine hotels after entry to the country.

The Office of the Prime Minister has released a press statement that outlines new measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19. Read the full press statement here.

We expect these rules and requirements to be updated in the coming days. Make sure you get the latest information from regjeringen.no before you travel to Norway.

Those who plan to travel to Norway should be aware of the following requirements:

  • Work travellers who have been in an area where the level of infection is particularly high during the 10-day period before their arrival in Norway will no longer be able to be exempted from the duty of quarantine during work hours on the basis of undergoing a test for Covid-19 once every three days, see Section 6c of the Covid-19 regulations. The general requirement to go into quarantine on entry to Norway will therefore apply in principle to all workers arriving from these areas.
  • For workers who may make use of the exemption from the duty of quarantine set out in Section 6c of the Covid-19 regulations, the following amendments to the rules have been made: workers who are allowed to work but must be in quarantine during leisure time are to be tested once every three days and must be given accommodation in a single room for the first 10 days of their stay in Norway. The employer must ensure that it is possible to maintain social distancing when workers are undergoing quarantine during leisure time. There is no longer any exemption to the requirement to go into quarantine on entry to Norway during leisure time.
  • Travellers from red countries must present a certificate of a negative Covid-19 test when they arrive in Norway. The test must have been taken less than 72 hours before entry. If the person does not present such a test, he or she may be refused entry. This will be implemented from midnight, Monday 9 November. (New)

  The requirement will not apply to Norwegians, persons who reside in Norway or persons in transit.

o   The requirement does not apply to people who regularly come to Norway from Sweden and Finland to work.

o   The requirement applies to health personnel who commute to Norway and who have been outside Norway for more than seven days.

o   Personnel with jobs critical to society may be exempted when necessary to avoid danger to life and health.

  • Persons who come to Norway must have a permanent residence in the country, or the employer or client must provide a guarantee of a suitable place of residence upon arrival in Norway. Persons, including tourists and visitors, who do not have their own residence or employer or client in Norway must stay in quarantine hotels and get tested during the quarantine period. This also applies to family members who come to visit relatives in Norway. The Norwegian Directorate of Health has been tasked with studying how these requirements can be introduced. Until this is established, border controls will be strengthened in accordance with existing regulations. (New)

E24: ConocoPhillips krever at ansatte bruker munnbind på kontoret

Oljeselskapet dobler antallet ansatte på kontoret, men setter inn nye tiltak for å hindre koronasmitte.

Tirsdag 20. oktober økte ConocoPhillips bemanningen ved sitt norske hovedkontor i Risavika fra i underkant av 300 til 600.

Samtidig ble det innført krav om bruk av munnbind i fellesområdene på kontoret.

– Vi vet at bruk av munnbind gir økt oppmerksomhet på smittepotensialet og minner oss om at vi fremdeles har en pandemi pågående, noe som igjen er med på å redusere risiko, forklarer pressekontakt Stig S. Kvendseth til Aftenbladet/E24.


Reuters: Norway may have to tighten COVID-19 restrictions, PM says

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway is going to stop easing coronavirus curbs for the moment and could be forced to bring back tougher measures following a recent rise in the number of cases, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Thursday.

Norway went into lockdown in mid-March and quickly saw a sharp fall in new cases, then began a gradual easing of restrictions in May.

“The government is considering tighter measures,” Solberg told a news conference.

Read entire article here