‘New variant’ of coronavirus detected in Norway: report

'New variant' of coronavirus detected in Norway: report
Illustration photo: Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash
The senior municipal doctor in Trondheim believes a variant of the new coronavirus detected in the city has not previously been found in Norway.

The coastal city has recently seen an outbreak connected to local businesses including the neighbouring Edge Barbershop and Lille London pub.

Samples of the virus were on Friday sent from Trondheim’s St. Olavs hospital to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) for analysis, the newspaper writes.

“The initial assessment is that this is a new variant which NIPH has not previously seen in Norway,” Tove Røsstad, the city’s senior municipal doctor, told VG.

So far, 35 confirmed infections have been linked to the outbreak in Trondheim and 1,500 people are in quarantine as a result of contact tracing. The weekend saw eight new cases new cases registered in the city, of which six have been connected to the three businesses linked to the outbreak: Edge Barbershop, bar Barmuda and Lille London pub.

Røsstad noted that it is not certain that the variant is more infectious than others or what other characteristics it may have.

But the Trondheim municipal doctor previously told the newspaper she had observed ‘easier infection’ and ‘different behaviour’ with recent Covid-19 cases in the city.

“We are seeing that infection is easier, in that less needs to happen (for a person) to get infected. You don’t need to have such a close contact as we have experienced there usually is. Additionally, you get sick faster – so the virus is behaving differently,” Røsstad previously told VG.

The doctor also said she expected “a number” of people currently quarantined due to the outbreak to eventually test positive for Covid-19.

The new positive cases connected to the outbreak were found in people already in quarantine, she added – a good sign that local authorities will be able to control the outbreak.

Restaurants, cafes and bars in Trondheim are required to register customers in line with measures to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

VG reports that it has requested comment from NIPH on analyses of the virus samples.

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