NIPH’s senior medical consultant Preben Aavitsland said that a significant regional difference in infection incidences supported a two-track plan for reopening society.
“In a way, we see a division of the country. About three-quarters of the epidemic takes place in 20 municipalities from Sarpsborg to Oslo and the neighbouring municipalities and then down to Drammen,” Aavitsland told news agency NTB.
Restrictions should not be lifted in these areas as they make up the bulk of infections and hospitalisations, he argued.
“Since the country is so divided, it is possible that reopening should take place at two speeds. In some municipalities in Viken a number of measures have been eased, but there is probably no room for new relief in Oslo and Viken,” he said.
But restrictions should be eased in other parts of the country where infection numbers are low, he said.
“In the rest of the country there should be room to try (lifting restrictions). For example, it is hardly necessary to keep Nordlysbadet in Alta closed because there is a lot of infection at Holmlia in Oslo,” he said.
Monday saw 288 Coronavirus patients in Norwegian hospitals. 250 of them are in the southeast, 28 in West Norway, nine in central Norway and one in the north.
Aavitsland emphasized that the situation with the virus in the rest of the country is calm compared to the south east.
“There are only a couple of hundred cases per day, very few hospitalisations, and the vaccination program is going well. Local outbreaks are constantly occurring, but these are handled well by the municipalities themselves,” he said.
The key factor for the epidemic going forward is how it is managed at its in Oslo, the senior medical advisor told the news agency.
“Here the vaccination program is now going at a rapid pace, the measures are strict, and the infection tracing is going well.
“The most important measure (locally) is intensive infection tracking so that you find everyone who is infected and stop the outbreak,” he said.