Norway’s immigrants far more vulnerable to Covid-19, report reveals

Norway’s immigrants far more vulnerable to Covid-19, report reveals
Photo by Daniel Charles Hextall on Unsplash
Nearly half the people who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in Norway are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, according to new data. The government is now ramping up its efforts to ensure all groups have access to information about the virus.

A new report by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) shows that Covid-19 is much more common among Norwegian-born people with at least one foreign-born parent than people whose parents are both born in Norway.

The report, which was published Thursday, concludes that while the infection rate for people with two Norwegian-born parents is 784 per 100,000 people, the number is 2,667 ­– 3.5 times higher – for those with a foreign-born parent.

The difference declines somewhat, however, when controlling for age, sex, where people live and profession. But it is nevertheless “still significant also after adjustment”, NIPH concludes.

The results are in-line with other resent findings presented by NIPH to parliament. The data shows that out of the 55,800 people who had been diagnosed with coronavirus in Norway and whose country of origin is known, 25,500 people (46 percent) are either immigrants themselves or have a mother who has immigrated to Norway.

People of Pakistani, Somali and Iraqi heritage are particularly vulnerable to the virus, both reports conclude.

Last week, every four out for ten coronavirus patients in Norwegian hospitals were also born outside Norway, according to NIPHs weekly overview.

The government warns against using the data to attack or stigmatise foreign-born people or descendants of immigrants.

“Looking for scapegoats will not defeat the pandemic,” State Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Anne Grethe Erlandsen told newspaper Aftenposten.

She added that several reasons can explain the findings.

“It could be language barriers, that a lot of people live in cramped conditions and that many people work in the services industry where the infection rate is high,” she said.

“In order to combat the virus we have to get all societal groups on-board. We are now working at making updated and correct information available in a range of different languages,” Erlandsen added.


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