Infectious variant estimated at ’20 to 30 percent’ of Norway Covid-19 cases

Infectious variant estimated at '20 to 30 percent' of Norway Covid-19 cases
Illustration photo: AFP
Up to 3 in 10 new cases of Covid-19 detected in Norway are now caused by the more infectious B117 variant, according to data from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).

The numbers come from the health authority’s weekly report, which was published on Wednesday.

“Based on a rough estimate of sequenced tests sent in to NIPH, which are not marked as outbreak tests or imported cases, the proportion of the English variant [B117, first detected in the United Kingdom, ed.] is around 20-30 percent of cases,” NIPH writes in the report.

“With regard to Norway, we expect that the English variant will form over half of all positive tests in a very short time,” the authority’s director Camilla Stoltenberg said at a press briefing on Wednesday, reported by media including VG.

NIPH has previously estimated that the variant will become the dominant form of Covid-19 in Norway within 4-8 weeks.

Neighbouring Denmark has already seen B117 take over as the most common variant in new infection. Danish authorities said that around 60 percent of new cases were due to the variant, according to the most recent data.

“People must be prepared for strict, national restrictions going forward,” Norwegian health minister Bent Høie said at the briefing.

READ ALSO: Senior Norway health official expects ‘hardest two months’ of pandemic

Assistant Director Espen Rostrup Nakstad at the Norwegian Directorate of Health said that Norway “must prepare for new variants that are more infectious and we already have them to a significant extent”.

Stoltenberg said that new variants are likely to cause a period of increased infection rates in Norway.

“We are following developments to see whether restrictions work against all (variants),” she said.


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