Health authorities are recommending replacing family members’ quarantine obligation with a strict testing regime, but the government is waiting until municipalities have enough rapid tests.
last week The government changed the so-called TISK strategy, which in practice means that fewer people have to be quarantined – including close contacts outside the home.
The government additionally received Advice from both the FHI and the Norwegian Directorate of Health The obligation to quarantine family members could be replaced by a strict testing regime where one tests oneself for five consecutive days.
In practice, this means that no one will have to quarantine anymore.
– It is logical and reasonable, because these are healthy people who can work even if they are exposed to corona, says Head of Infection Control Priben Avezland at FHI to VG.
They are wanted in schools, nursing homes, and in their businesses. Then it makes sense for them to test themselves. If they are infected, they, of course, stay at home.
It may come in two weeks
However, this was not introduced when the government changed the quarantine rules last week, which the Ministry of Health justified by two things:
- Municipalities must have enough rapid tests, and
- Municipalities should have established a system for storing and distributing tests to homes.
However, in a letter to state and municipal officials on December 17, the Norwegian Directorate of Health warned that there could be further changes to TISK’s strategy from around the fifth week.
Aavitsland also emphasizes that it’s all about getting the rapid tests:
– The government announced last week that we can abolish the family quarantine requirement once there are enough self-tests in the municipalities, the head of infection control says to VG.
How do the isolation rules work now? Take VG Quarantine Calculator:
Needs 7.4 million tests per week
Express tests have always been in great demand in this country. And the health authorities have previously indicated that there are several tests available It would have replaced the overlapping procedures that were introduced before Christmas.
Then VG asked Health Director Bjørn Guldvog why they weren’t getting more rapid tests:
– It is first of all related to the amount of orders that we require nationally, but this is not free. He replied that these are significant costs, which, of course, must be looked at in relation to the benefit.
If the quarantine obligation were now to be replaced by close contacts in the home being tested, the Norwegian Directorate of Health estimates that this would result in the consumption of between 4.5 million and 7.4 million tests per week.
In the government’s new health package Among other things, it has been proposed to spend 5 billion NOK on the acquisition of corona tests.
“We are investing heavily in testing and are moving from a situation where we had a testing shortage, to now we’ll have access to tens of millions of tests,” Jonas Gahr Store told VG at the time.
The Norwegian Directorate of Health also expects that they will have access to more tests after the fourth week, and that an additional 47 million tests will be delivered to municipalities by the end of the eighth week.
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, Ole Henrik Kratt-Bjorkholt (PT), confirmed that the government was positive about the change:
– But before such a change takes effect, we must make sure that the municipalities have sufficient access to the tests. This means increasing the distribution capacity to the municipalities and the storage capacity of the municipalities.
In addition, municipalities should have established a system for distributing tests to families.
Bjørkholt says the current quarantine rules for family members will be in effect for a little longer.
The current situation is that self-tests are constantly sent to the municipalities, at the same time creating the necessary system for how they are made available to the population.
– He adds that only when this is done can the rules be changed.
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