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PANDEMIC

Has Norway passed the peak of current coronavirus wave?

A senior medical consultant at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has said that while there are signs the country's epidemic is turning, the situation remains unstable.

Has Norway passed the peak of current coronavirus wave?
(Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP)

According to the latest data from NIPH, daily coronavirus cases have been decreasing steadily for the past week.

“It seems the epidemic has reversed, but the picture is very unstable. It is different around the country,” senior medical consultant Preben Aavitsland at NIPH told newspaper VG.

“Some areas in eastern Norway, such as certain districts in Oslo and Drammen, have infection pressures on par with some of the worst countries in Europe. At the same time, most places in Norway have almost no cases,” he said.

The senior consultant said he believes that it is no longer necessary to assess and treat the entire country equally when it comes to infection control strategy. Instead, he would like to see municipalities split into three categories:

  • Municipalities with long standing, widespread epidemic
  • Municipalities with current outbreaks
  • Municipalities with no or few sporadic cases

These municipalities would then adopt different infection control strategies for fighting the virus. He also said that the strategy could change as more is learned about the virus and the effect of vaccination on infection control. 

Municipalities with long standing, widespread epidemic make up around 80 percent of the country’s cases, according to VG’s report. Aavitsland suggested they continue with measures that are currently in place nationally. 

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“These places must continue the hard work of pushing down the epidemic. This is done through testing and infection tracking, and many contact-reducing measures,” said Aavitsland.

“The development in these municipalities is of great importance for the development in the rest of the country. We see some positive signs, but the situation is unstable,” he added.

For municipalities with current outbreaks including Sandefjord, Ålesund and Bergen, Aavitsland advocated the mobilisation of large infection tracing resources and wider testing of close contacts of those with Covid-19.

“Such outbreaks should normally be able to be stopped within three to four weeks,” he said.

For cases with few or sporadic cases he said that their main priority should be on remaining vigilant:

“The goal must be to return to zero and preserve it that way.”

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COVID-19

Norway unlikely to offer fourth Covid vaccine dose to under 45s 

Those under 45 with no underlying conditions probably won’t be offered a fourth Covid vaccine dose this autumn, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) said Friday. 

Norway unlikely to offer fourth Covid vaccine dose to under 45s 

Health authorities are unlikely to offer under 45s a fourth Covid jab this autumn, broadcaster TV2 writes. 

“As it looks now, no more doses will be recommended for healthy people under the age of 45, but we are continuously assessing this based on the knowledge we have about the epidemic and the vaccine,” Preben Aavitsland, Chief Physician at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), told TV2. 

Newswire NTB were informed on Wednesday that health chiefs would make an official recommendation for the coming autumn and winter towards the end of summer. 

In a letter sent to municipalities earlier this month, the NIPH wrote that the most likely outcome was that local authorities would be asked to other a refresher dose to over 65s and those in vulnerable groups.

Aavitsland told TV2 that in the long run, it was possible the oldest would be offered an annual vaccine. However, this would depend on how long the pandemic endured and the spread of new variants, the chief physician, added. 

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