Norway coronavirus infections outstrip Sweden for first time since April

Norway coronavirus infections outstrip Sweden for first time since April
People in Stockholm on August 31st. Photo: AFP
The rate of new cases of Covid-19 in Norway is higher than that in neighbouring Sweden for the first time in several months, according to official figures.

Norway registered 454 new cases of coronavirus from Monday to Thursday last week, according to a tally by national broadcaster NRK based on Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) figures.

In neighbouring Sweden, 754 new cases were registered during the period according to Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) figures.

Using the rate of infections per 100,000 residents during the last 7 days, Norway has registered 1.2 new cases of Covid-19 per day compared to 0.9 cases in Sweden, according to figures as of September 7th, according to newspaper VG’s count which is also based on figures from health authorities.

According to NRK, Norway has not had a higher current rate of infection than Sweden since April 1st.

According to Espen Nakstad, vice director of the Norwegian Directorate of Health, Sweden is currently on its way to gaining control over the spread of coronavirus.

“This is a clear sign that people in Sweden are doing a lot of things sensibly, maintaining social distance and using hygiene advice actively, and are careful about the spread of the virus,” Nakstad told NRK.

It should be noted that Sweden still has higher figures for number of hospitalised patients than Norway, including if the figure is corrected for population size.

Norway’s increase in new infections may also be due in part to ramped-up testing, with 80,000 people now being tested in the country weekly.

Two local outbreaks, in Bergen and Østfold, also drove Norway’s total upwards last week, Nakstad said to NRK.

“If we look past those two outbreaks, the numbers in Norway are quite low and stable,” he said, adding that it was “important” to detect and stop local outbreaks.

The comparison between infection rates in Norway and Sweden is oft-discussed in Norwegian media due to the difference in the neighbours' approach to containing the pandemic.

Norway has registered 642 new cases of coronavirus in the week leading up to Monday September 7th. The country currently has 15 patients in hospital with the virus. 264 people have lost their lives due to Covid-19 in Norway since the beginning of the epidemic.

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