A new report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) assessing the risk of the Delta Covid variant, first identified in India, has outlined that it expects Delta to have a limited impact on the epidemic in Norway in the short term.
Last week the Delta variant officially became the dominant coronavirus variant in Norway.
In the report, the health institute outlined that the risk that the Delta variant poses to escalating the Covid-19 epidemic in Norway in the next two months is “small”.
The health institute said that although cases will inevitably rise, the consequences of this will be minimal.
“There may be an increase in the number of infected, but the institute considers that the number of serious cases of illness will remain low and with relatively small consequences”, the risk assessment outlined.
Coronavirus cases are expected to rise to around two or three thousand a week between August and September, compared to the current figure of just over 1,400 infections last week, as a result of Delta becoming dominant.
Case numbers of two to three thousand a week would be a similar infection situation to the one during early to mid-may, according to NIPH figures. However, the institute also added that Norway was unlikely to see any more large waves of infection as a result of the Delta variant becoming dominant.
Preben Aavitsland, chief physician at the NIPH, said in the report that despite the Delta variant being more contagious than other Covid mutations he expects the epidemic in the country to be kept under control.
This is despite the Delta variant escalating the epidemic in other countries where it has become dominant.
The reason for this is the progress Norway has made in its vaccination program. Almost 80 percent of people aged over 18 have received a vaccine, and nearly 40 percent of people in Norway are fully vaccinated.
“In many places, this leads to an increasing epidemic, but countries with good vaccination coverage still seem to be doing well with a small or moderate increase in hospital admissions or deaths,” Aavitsland said.
Aavitsland did add that residents and health authorities should remain vigilant even though the risk in the short term may be low.
“The good vaccination coverage in Norway indicates that we can still keep the Covid-19 epidemic under control in this country, but we must be vigilant because the Delta variant provides a certain degree of uncertainty in the future,” Aavitsland said.
The report didn’t specify what the updated risk assessment of the Delta variant would mean for the government’s reopening strategy.
Earlier in July, the government postponed the final phase of its strategy to lift coronavirus measures due to concerns over the spread of the Delta variant.