Following a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases across Norway and Oslo, the city’s executive mayor announced that mass testing would return to schools in the capital from early as next week.
“What we should have now is regular, mass testing of school students. We hope to roll this out during the next week,” Raymond Johansen, executive mayor of Oslo, told newspaper VG.
Johansen said that the reintroduction of testing in schools was due to the bulk of infection spreading among those under 19.
“There are high infection rates in Norway and in Oslo. But it is mainly those aged up to 19 who are infected. These are the youngest who do not get sick. It also means that we are currently able to keep the number of hospital admissions at a low level,” he said.
On Tuesday, 400 people in Oslo tested positive for Covid-19.
In September, mass testing was used in schools when the country went through a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections. Oslo was among several cities, such as Trondheim, Bergen and Fredrikstad, that tested pupils at schools to help bring down infections earlier in the autumn.
Johansen also said that mass testing was an effective tool for cutting infection rates in the autumn.
“We experienced this autumn that mass testing is by far the most effective tool. This is the target audience. This is how we will manage to help curb the infection,” he explained.
Oslo City Council said it was ironing out the details but would reveal more before testing was implemented.
In the autumn students were provided test kits and swabbed themselves, mass testing was also voluntary.