Scout meet ups security after Norway attacks

Some 40,000 scouts are pouring into southern Sweden as the World Scout Jamboree prepares to open, while Friday's twin attacks in Norway have meant that security has been tightened.

Scout meet ups security after Norway attacks

Maria Graner, Secretary general of the Swedish Guide and Scout Council (Scoutrådet), explained that the World Scout Jamboree is taking extra security precautions after the attacks in Norway.

“We’re in close contact with the police and the security police, working with them to assess threat levels against us,” she told The Local on Monday.

The event is taking place in a normally empty field outside Kristianstad, in southern Sweden, which has been transformed into a midsized Swedish town, equipped with everything from hospital to kitchen and plumbing.

Close to 40,000 scouts are expected to make the field their camp site for the duration of the twelve day long World Scout Jamboree.

The event doesn’t kick off until Wednesday, but roughly 7,000 eager participants are expected to arrive as early as Monday.

“A Jamboree means a lot to one’s internal pride. Scouts get a chance to talk to each other and exchange experiences,” Graner said.

Several hundred Norwegian scouts are expected to arrive to the camp, in the shadow of Friday’s tragic twin attacks on the country. One Norwegian already on the spot is 22 year-old Audun Ingebrigtsen, from Röyken, just west of Oslo. He was already in Sweden when the massacre occurred.

“But I have five good friends who were on Utöya. Luckily they all survived, but the feeling is surreal, I’m still in shock,” he explained to TT.

Going home was never an option; the support and sense of community the Jamboree offers is like therapy, he said.

Since Friday, he has also been flooded with text messages and phone calls from friends all over the world who want to show their support.

“I hope the Norwegian society doesn’t become less open after this. But a certain suspicion is unavoidable, perhaps,” said Audun Ingebrigtsen.

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.