August 15, 2022

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Båter ved kai på Myre i Vesterålen

Big Shortage of Rapid Tests Before Winter Hunting – Soon 5,000 Foreign Workers – NRK Nordland

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On Thursday, NRK reported that The NHO wants to conduct border testing for workers who will contribute during winter hunting.

– Regional Director Daniel Bjarmann Simonsen said it is very important to get tested at the border so that we control the infection.

But not everyone gets tested at the border and some players in the industry want to run the tests themselves.

Then they must therefore obtain their express tests.

It has proven difficult. This is impossible in Andenes in Vesterålen.

We expect about 45 workers, but we haven’t bought any tests, says Ragni Mortensen of Jangaard Export in Andenes.

A possible spread of infection in the facility can destroy the season.

Impossible to get

Mortensen says last year’s season was marked by a low number of workers. It was long hours for those who were at work.

They want to avoid this situation this year. With workers on their way from Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, Oslo and Bodo, it looks like they can do it.

But then they have to keep the infection away. Testing then can be an important factor, but it is impossible without equipment.

It’s hard to find quick tests at the moment.

Photo: Fredrik Hansen/NRK

– We asked the municipality and the pharmacy, but they were empty. Rajni Mortensen says we have a request, but the pharmacy couldn’t guarantee their arrival on time.

The first workers already arrive over the weekend, and the rest are in place over Christmas.

– We also tried to get it from a private doctor’s office, but it didn’t work either. If we are so unfortunate that there is a plant infection, it will be difficult to continue the process – so we want to do everything to avoid it.

Andenes, Vesterolin.

The 45 foreign workers are waiting here for Andenes in Vesterålen. Now they’re not sure how to test them – so far the company hasn’t received any rapid testing.

Photo: Synnøve Sundby Fallmyr / NRK

I ordered 15 million tests

NRK has been in contact with the Norwegian Directorate of Health, which buys the rapid tests.

They haven’t answered our questions yet.

But earlier this week, it became known that the Minister of Health had asked the Norwegian Directorate of Health Saving 15 million rapid tests.

The Norwegian Directorate of Health has also entered into a purchase agreement for 50 million tests with delivery to arrive early next year, Engfeld Kerkul (PT) told NTB.

Helps after 54 days in coma

Stephen Foo is a man with great experience in both infection and infection control. When the epidemic broke out in Norway, it was an important man who had to catch it In enough infection control equipment for public bodies.

– Orders were ringing and I went on adrenaline for four weeks. Fortunately, I had several good helpers who enabled us to deliver all orders without damage or wastage, he tells NRK.

One year later, on March 8, 2021, Fu put himself in an artificial coma. There he lay for 54 days before he regained consciousness.

Infection control equipment from China is located in Bodo.  Importer Stephen Foo.

Stephen Fu previously imported infection control equipment from China. Now he wants to import the quick tests.

Photo: Lars-Bjørn Martinsen

Since then he has trained, and married. Now he wants to contribute once again to the arrival of enough equipment in Norway – so that Mortensen, among other things, can test his workers.

– I’ve had plenty of time to think things through. What could I have done differently? All precautions were taken, but I was hurt, Fu says before continuing:

– A quick test would have made me avoid the fact that the affected person had not met me.

Now he will again use contacts in China to import certified equipment into Norway – this time with rapid tests.

Can save others in society

Last year, the municipality helped Mortensen and staff with the tests. On Monday, she will meet with the chancellor and the city’s chief medical officer. They may also get help this year, but most of all she hopes they can test their employees.

– In general, we would have saved the community and other actors money if we could do it ourselves. In addition, there will be more capacity for others at the test stations.

Once the employees arrive at the factory, a large number of people do not meet many other people or leave the municipality.

fish reception

Jangaard Export wants to test its employees.

Photo: Christian Crokens/NRK

But the winter flu and the common cold can make them want to test themselves quickly. Mortensen then prefers to avoid having to use municipal resources.

No matter how the workers are tested, she is completely dependent on them. Without their arrival, the season would almost be cancelled.

– It’s Alpha and Omega. Incredibly important. She explains that without them, we have no chance.

Ultimately, it could exceed the amount of fish we can get, which in turn will affect both the fishermen and the surrounding island communities.

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