Immediately after 7 pm on Friday Tonight, the World Health Organization announced that it is classifying the new variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, as a variant of concern. She gave him the name Omicron.
On Friday, representatives from the NIPH sat in meetings with both the World Health Organization and the European Union’s Health Safety Committee.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store announced on Friday afternoon that Norway will apply quarantine to everyone who comes to Norway from several countries in Africa on the advice of the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the National Institute of Health.
– If it turns out to have a much larger infection than delta and alpha, then naturally it will already spread. It can be hard to stop, FHI’s topic manager Frode Forland says for Dagbladet.
What we can do is slow down its spread in our country, by taking measures. But we have seen that these other large species that have spread all over the world, have also come to Norway sooner or later.
– Serious consequences
I recommendation For the government, both NIPH and the Norwegian Directorate of Health seem to believe that the uncertainty surrounding the new variable makes it important to postpone any spread to Norway. Especially given that Norway is already in a state of serious injury, with the health service under great pressure.
The consequences for Norway would be serious if a new and more dangerous formula was introduced, with the potential to overtake the Delta. The national situation now requires that, in the worst case scenario, this may result in the Norwegian Health Service not being able to soon provide quality and essential health services to all, writes the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
Both the FHI and the Norwegian Directorate of Health stress that there is still much that is not known about the new variant. However, the large number of mutations in the variant raises concern about virus infection and that vaccines may have less effect, making it necessary to implement precautionary measures, as recommended.
If the new variant is more contagious than delta, and has the potential to circumvent the effect of a vaccine, the consequences for the community could be very serious, with the potential for community closure. If the effect of vaccines is significantly reduced, it may take several months to develop, produce and distribute new effective vaccines.
Until there is certain knowledge, they thus conclude that the implementation of measures is both proportionate and necessary.
The NIPH is now assessing the risks of the variant. They expect to be ready over the weekend.
– It collects information from all the sources that we have. Through our own analyses, through the international networks in which we are, and at meetings where we receive information from the World Health Organization and the European Infection Control Agency, says Forland to Dagbladet Director.
Does this mean we can expect a recommendation over the weekend?
We will keep the government informed of the situation, giving them the advice they need to be able to carry out the assessment associated with the entry chain.
– R number from 2
On Friday, FHI wrote in one press release The variety is causing an increase in infection in Gauteng in South Africa and has succeeded in becoming dominant in the region.
‘Medical advisor Susan Hopkins told the UK’s Health Security Agency on Wednesday Watchman The effective R number of the Gauteng variable is 2.
– We can see that the number of infections rises to two in the periods when there is an active infection in an area, without itself being very alarming. There is high vaccine coverage in this region of Africa compared to other parts of Africa.
In Africa, vaccine coverage generally does not exceed five percent, according to Director Frode Forland.
In this area, vaccine coverage is 24 percent, and a large proportion are likely to have contracted this infection at an early stage.
Africa affects our situation
In August, Tedros Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, made a strong appeal to all the world’s prosperous nations. Ghebreyesus asked countries that have come a long way in vaccinating to wait for their populations to be given a third dose until 10 percent of the world’s population has been vaccinated.
– If vaccine coverage in South Africa were higher, the concern here at home would be less, do you think?
This situation shows how important it is that we treat this as an epidemic, that we understand that what is happening in Africa also affects our situation and our vulnerability to being able to transmit variants of the virus to Norway, says Forland.
He asserts that the region in which the alternative has gained a foothold is among those with the highest vaccination coverage in Africa.
– Where there are a lot of viruses circulating, there is also a risk of new mutations, which in turn can come back to us and challenge our epidemiological situation.
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