Health of immigrants in Norway disproportionately affected by Covid-19

Immigrants were among a number of groups said to have been most affected by the pandemic. Pictured is a Covid-19 swab being prepared.
Immigrants were among a number of groups said to have been most affected by the pandemic. Pictured is a Covid-19 swab being prepared. Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash
A new report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has found that several groups, one being immigrants, have borne the brunt of the coronavirus more than others. 

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) on Monday published the findings of its report on Covid-19 in Norway and has outlined that the effects of the pandemic are skewed, with certain groups such as immigrants being more affected by the pandemic than others. 

Immigrants were more likely to be infected or hospitalised with Covid-19, the health authority found.

 “Throughout the pandemic, some immigrant groups have had many more infected and seriously ill than the average in the population,” the report reads

Those born in countries other than Norway accounted for 40 percent of all Covid-related hospital admissions between March 2020 and February 2021. This is despite them making up a significantly smaller proportion of the population, 15 percent

Other groups harder hit by the pandemic included vulnerable children and young people. 

The report suggested possible reasons immigrants were harder hit by the pandemic than the rest of the population. 

Among them is the high spread of infection in areas of the country where foreign-born residents reside, data that indicates that foreigners travelled more during the pandemic, delays in Norway’s TISK infection control strategy and socio-economic conditions. 

Health Minister Bent Høie said that the government could have done a better job of providing information to foreign residents. 

“We could have been better at reaching out with information. For example, we could have begun working with younger people with an immigrant background earlier,” he said to public broadcaster NRK

He added that second-generation immigrants could have been mobilised earlier to help to get information to first-generation immigrants who may not have had strong Norwegian language skills. 

“We could have mobilised their children to a greater extent earlier. A lot has been done well, but we could have been better at this,” he explained. 


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