Coronavirus: 169 people now infected in Norway

Coronavirus: 169 people now infected in Norway
The FIS World Cup Nordic in Holmenkollen taking place in front of empty stands on Saturday. Photo: AFP
New figures from Norway's Institute for Public Health (FHI) show that 169 people in the country have tested positive for coronavirus up to and including Sunday.

At least 109 of the 169 confirmed cases have been traced to travel to Italy and Austria, FHI writes on its website.

The latest figures, posted by FHI at 4pm on Sunday, show an increase by 22 in the number of infections over the preceding 24-hour period.

None of the 169 cases are known by FHI to be seriously ill, the health authority reports.

The majority of the Norwegian cases were infected abroad or have had close contact with people who were infected abroad.

According to FHI’s figures, at least 91 of the cases were infected in Italy while 18 were infected in Austria, primarily at the Ischgl ski resort.

“We have an ongoing intense effort to trace infections and are working with relevant municipal health services for each case,” FHI area director Geir Bukholm said on the authority’s website.

“We have seen in recent days that there are an increasing number of infected persons who have recently returned from ski resorts in Austria. We therefore recommend that anyone who experiences respiratory symptoms after returning from these areas calls their doctor or an on-call doctor so that testing can be considered,” Bukholm also said.

Health authorities in Norway and elsewhere are worried about potentially infected people turning up at hospitals and passing on the virus.

Therefore, you should always start by contacting your doctor by telephone. Remember to state that you have been in an area of infection, if this is the case.

You can read more about symptoms and who to contact in our paywall-free information article.

“We have also seen that some people became ill after returning home from other countries. To be on the safe side, we therefore recommend that health professionals who have been abroad and who experience respiratory symptoms when they return home are tested for covid-19,” Bukholm said.

“Health professionals have daily contact with the elderly and people with chronic illnesses. These are risk groups for severe coronavirus disease, and we want to protect them as much as possible,” he explained.

Norway’s foreign ministry is currently advising against all non-essential travel to Italian regions Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta, Liguria, Marche, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Tuscany, Umbria and Abruzzo. You can check the current travel advice for Italy and all other countries on the ministry’s website.

FHI advises against all travel to areas with widespread outbreaks and generally against non-essential travel to areas with “local spread of infection”.

The authority’s website currently lists Hubei province in China, the Italian regions named above, all of Iran and South Korea, and Tirol in Austria and outbreak areas.

The remainder of mainland China along with Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan are listed as areas with local spread of infection.

You can check the areas currently encompassed by the FHI advice via the authority’s website.

Airlines Norwegian and SAS have cancelled flights to northern Italy, while Oslo University Hospital has advised against kissing, hugging and shaking hands as a precaution to help prevent virus spread.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, the Italian government approved a new emergency decree which included placing some 15 million people living in northern Italy inside a new “quarantine” zone.

With more than 360 fatalities and 7,000 confirmed cases, Italy is by far the worst-affected country in Europe.

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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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