Should Norway brace itself for an autumn coronavirus wave?
Several European countries are facing an autumn wave of coronavirus. Should Norwegians be worried?
In October, several European countries - including Italy, France and the United Kingdom - reported a steep increase in COVID-19 infection.
Norway hasn't noticed such a trend for the time being, but health authorities warn that colder weather could lead to more infection cases.
Espen Rostrup Nakstad, the assistant director of the Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs, says that situation in the country has been stable in the last 30 days.
"Most people believe we will get more infection cases when it gets colder. That happens with respiratory infections.
"However, at the moment, Italy is facing an increase in COVID-19 inpatients, with a 30% increase in one week. In the United Kingdom, the increase amounted to 45% compared to two weeks ago.
"We do not see that trend in Norway. In Norway, we see 10-20 new inpatients per day. And the number has been stable in the last month," Nakstad told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) over the weekend.
Last week, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet - FHI) stated that the elderly are still recommended to take a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
However, young and healthy Norwegians will probably not be included in similar recommendations in the future, according to the FHI's chief physician Preben Aavitsland.
"Old age is clearly the most important risk factor. We, therefore, recommend that everyone over 65 take a booster dose as soon as possible. We're also assessing whether there is a need for healthy people in the 45-64 age group to do the same.
"For healthy people under the age of 45, there will hardly be a new recommendation for taking coronavirus doses," Aavitsland told the newspaper ABC Nyheter.
While there is no sign of an Autumn wave of COVID infection in Norway yet, the country should prepare for the Winter.
"There is less immunity than normal against influenza, and we already have coronavirus in circulation," Aavitsland added, noting that there could be a simultaneous wave of both coronavirus and flu infections later this autumn.
"Two epidemics at the same time would not be a good thing. They largely affect the same group and thus take over the same capacities in hospitals and nursing homes," Aavitsland said.