Svein Lie, technical director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, told state broadcaster NRK that his agency planned to change its criteria so that anyone who reports possible symptoms of the illness will be eligible to get tested.
“We believe that in late April or early May we can increase by tens of thousands of tests per week. Maybe as many as up to 100,000 a week,” Lie said
Norway is already testing a greater proportion of its population for the virus than any other country except Iceland, with about 30,000 currently tested a week and 121,034 people tested in total by Thursday.
But Lie said new testing methods were now being developed at the same time as ways were being found around shortages of reagents and other essential supplies, which had been limiting the number of tests.
Espen Rostrup Nakstad, the agency's assistant director, said that the aim was now to test everyone who reported symptoms. “We want to test everyone who has respiratory symptoms in the future,” he said.
“This is both to test for the illness early, but hopefully also to be able to test some way into the quarantine period to determine how long people have to stay in quarantine”.
The directorate is also considering using testing to help the country reopen its schools and kindergartens in a safer way, or in improving the protection of elderly people in care homes.