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FIREFIGHTERS ON SUNDAY WERE BATTLING AROUND 50 WIL

SWEDEN

German firefighters arrive in Sweden to fight scathing flames

Help from Germany has arrived in Sweden in order to fight an outbreak of forest fires described as the most serious in modern times.

German firefighters arrive in Sweden to fight scathing flames
Firefighters on Sunday were battling around 50 wildfires. Photo: DPA

A total of 52 firefighters from the Nienburg district of Lower Saxony arrived on Sunday in nine fire trucks, said the state’s lower ministry.

“Their location is Älvdalen which lies in the most affected region Dalarna,” they said, referring to the area in central Sweden.

Firefighters on Sunday were battling around 50 wildfires after an unprecedented drought in the region and historically high July temperatures, which are hotter than they have been in at least 260 years.

Sweden had asked the German government for help in order to get a grip on the devastating fires.

“The idea of ​​European solidarity is of particular importance to us. And of course we offer help and support wherever we can,” said Lower Saxony's Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD).

Hartmut Ziebs, president of the German fire service (DFV) posted a photo of the newly arrived trucks on Facebook, saying that after a short break following the journey to Sweden, that the firefighters would get to work on Monday.

Fire trucks are in particularly high demand in Sweden, as they can carry larger amounts of water. The firefighters from Lower Saxony were initially requested for a week for use in Sweden.

Firefighters from the Hanover region and Bavaria are also available as a reserve and could be sent to Sweden if necessary.

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NORWAY

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.

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