Norway health agency fears summer ‘superspreader’ events

Norway health agency fears summer 'superspreader' events
Camilla Stoltenberg, Director General of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, believes less far-going measures would have been sufficient. Photo: Nordforsk/Flickr
Norway's health agency has warned that large events this summer could cause "significant local outbreaks" of coronavirus, citing evidence that superspreader events are "a major driver of the pandemic".
In its latest coronavirus risk report, The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said that although the likelihood and risk of a new outbreak in Norway was only “moderate”, the country still needed to plan for a new, national wave. 
“Superspeader events look like they are an important driver in the covid-19 pandemic, and may explain why the epidemic has taken off only in some places,” the report reads. 
The institute's director Camilla Stoltenberg said that she was therefore “concerned about increased contamination at large events and at dining places this summer.” 
“We fear that mass contamination may give rise to significant local outbreaks,” she said.  
To explain the importance of superspreader events, she noted that even in Norway's current low infection situation, with just one infected person per 10,000 people, a party with 1,000 people would on average include at least one infected person. 
In the report, she warned that as only about one percent of the population appeared to have been infected, immunity in Norway remained very low, leaving it vulnerable. 
“In the future, there will be a danger of flare-ups of the epidemic until the population has become immune through vaccination or has undergone infection,” the report reads. 
However, it said it still remained possible that the onset of summer would reduce the spread of the infection, with any second wave not arriving until the autumn. 
As for border opening, the institute said there was little risk of allowing travellers from Iceland and Finland into Norway, a “somewhat larger” risk in allowing those from Denmark, with the “greatest” risk presented by travellers from Sweden, if they are not forced to go into quarantine. 

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