Authorities in the Oslo Municipality have pointed to three possible causes for what could be the beginning of a spike in infections in the city, newspaper VG reports.
Meanwhile the Norwegian Institute for Public Health (NIPH) has said that it expects more infectious variants of the Covid-19 virus to become dominant in Norway within the coming weeks. That is likely to be associated with a rise in cases.
As has been the case throughout the pandemic, Oslo, the biggest population centre in the country, is likely to see the bulk of new cases.
231 is the highest number for Covid-19 infections in a 24-hour period so far recorded in Oslo, according to VG’s report.
The head of the health department with the city government, Robert Steen, told the newspaper the trend was “definitively going in the wrong direction”.
He also said he backed the city to bring the increased infection rate under control as it has done in the past, despite the new factor of the more infectious variant B117, which has been estimated by NIPH to currently be causing up to 30 percent of infections.
“What is unknown is the strength of the mutated virus and the responsibility 700,000 residents in Oslo must take because of this,” he said.
In comments to VG, Steen said that the city government considers three primary causes to be behind the increased number of recent infections: more infectious variants, increased testing and a change in public behaviour.
The latter factor has seen less rigorous compliance with restrictions and recommendations amid vaccinations and discussion of future easing of restrictions, as well as in relation to winter holidays, he said.
“In short, this probably means that a lot of people – and it doesn’t take many – get the feeling it’s not as important anymore,” he said.
The city councillor also confirmed that there were no immediate plans to introduce additional coronavirus restrictions in Oslo and that there was not yet a definite timescale for a decision on this.
In a weekly report published on Wednesday, NIPH estimated that Oslo’s R-number for the coronavirus since February 1st is 1.4. As such, every 10 people infected with the virus will pass it on to 14 others, causing the epidemic to grow.