Norway reports 30 new coronavirus cases as total rises to 86

Norway reports 30 new coronavirus cases as total rises to 86
Illustration photo. AFP
New figures from Norway’s Institute for Public Health (FHI) showed 30 new cases of coronavirus over a 24-hour period up to Thursday evening, bringing the country’s total confirmed cases to 86.

All of the newly-reported cases have been placed in home quarantine under the care of municipal health services, FHI said on its website. All have a “mild sickness”, according to national broadcaster NRK’s report.

Additionally, all of the new cases have been traced to infections abroad, FHI said. Of these, most have been connected to the outbreak in northern Italy. Two have been traced to Iran, one to Hong Kong and one to China.

As such, Norway’s health authorities are still managing to trace new infections to travel abroad despite a daily increase in the number of new cases being reported.

FHI has warned of the situation with the coronavirus in Norway entering a “new phase”, in which infections are passed within the country and are hard to trace, in turn making it hard to track down people who may have had close contact with an infected person. This is a key element of the health authority response and management when new cases are detected.

“The spread of infection may go into a new phase in which we are no longer able to connect all the infected individuals to a known outbreak area. Infection management teams are making ongoing assessments with regard to the situation and its development in other countries,” FHI department director Line Vold said in a statement.

Vold told NRK that numbers are expected to increase further in the coming days.

“We are testing a lot of people and finding new cases. An intense effort to trace infections is ongoing and this is why we are reporting new infections every day,” she said.

Airline SAS earlier this week cancelled all its flights to Milan, Bologna, Venice and Turin until March 16th, but not all airlines have taken the same step.

Norwegian told E24 on Thursday that it is still flying to northern Italy and Milan as normal.

Avinor, the company which operates Norway’s airports, told NRK it will apply measures taken by authorities on air traffic, but so far only that comprises only distribution of information about hygiene.

“We are in dialogue with health authorities and will apply the measures we are asked to apply. But it is up to the health authorities to decide what measures are in place. The only thing we have so far been asked to do is to distribute information about hand washing,” Avinor head of communications Gurli Ulverud told the broadcaster.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Norway (Luftfartstilsynet) is represented on a response committee for biological events which can consider restrictions on aviation, NRK writes.

The authority’s head of societal security Bjørnar Davidsen told NRK that the authority was recently informed that it may be necessary to consider flight restrictions.

“The health authorities are in the driver's seat in a situation like the one coronavirus has created. It is conceivable that the health authorities might want to limit traffic from outbreak areas,” Davidsen said.

“Everyone who is flying to Norway must have a permit from us to do this. We can go in and suspend the permit based on the decision of health authorities,” he said.

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The coronavirus situation in Norway remains less serious than in other countries, but you can keep up to date with the latest news via this article, which also includes official guidelines on the everyday precautions you can take and what to do if you have travelled to outbreak areas or are concerned about symptoms. The article will be updated on an ongoing basis.

We are keeping the article paywall-free, which means it will remain open to new or occasional readers. An explanation of this decision can be found at the bottom of the article.


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