Both the US and Italy offer covid testing to travelers from China. But the Norwegian government is not afraid of contagion from the People’s Republic.
– We will not recommend to the government that Norway take measures against travelers from China, says FHI’s specialist director Preben Aavitsland to VG.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ole Henrik Kratt-Bjorkholt, told VG that there was no indication that infections imported from China posed a threat to Norway.
On December 7, Beijing abruptly and unexpectedly lifted the draconian infection control measures that have marked the lives of 1.4 billion Chinese for nearly three years.
The virus is already spreading through the population. International health experts fear 1-2 million deaths in China, as a result of the strict Covid regime that has come to an end.
But as China is open to giving its citizens permission to leave, many countries are offering testing for travelers from China and quarantine for those who test positive.
One in two is infected
Corona tested passengers at Milan Malpensa Airport on two flights from Beijing and Shanghai on Boxing Day. Approximately one in two turns out to be carriers of the infection.
Italian Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci announced Wednesday Rapid tests for all passengers from China – including those in transit – are made mandatory.
– Schillacci said that this measure is necessary to ensure the monitoring and identification of all types of the virus, to protect the Italian population.
Italy was the first European country to be infected with the coronavirus in February 2020. Reports of overwhelmed hospitals in the country shocked the entire world.
It became clear on Wednesday evening Norwegian time that the US is following suit.
Starting January 5, the United States requires all travelers from China to present a negative covid-19 test taken no later than two days before departure, according to reports. CNN.
The requirement includes passengers flying directly into the United States from China and passengers traveling through transit airports in third countries, such as Seoul, Toronto and Vancouver.
several countries in the east Introducing COVID testing for travelers from China:
Japan From Friday all passengers from China – permanent residents and those who have visited the country in the past week – will test. In the event of a positive test, you wait for seven days of self-quarantine.
Taiwan The mandatory testing will begin when thousands of visitors from the mainland are expected to take part in the Chinese New Year celebrations, which start on January 22.
India It offers PCR testing to passengers from five countries, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand, says Health Minister Mansukh Mandavia.
Malaysia Notified of tracking and monitoring procedures, while Filipinos Consider introducing a test for travelers from China.
China: under control
According to Beijing spokesman Wang Wenbin said South China Morning Post That life is returning to normal and that the epidemic situation in China is “under control”.
China has vaccinated more than 90 percent of the population, but only 58 percent of adults and 42 percent of everyone over the age of 80 have received booster doses, according to Reuters.
The news agency reported that China has developed nine vaccines for the virus, but none have been updated to deal with the highly pathogenic Omicron variant.
China is no longer reporting cases and has introduced a strict definition of what constitutes a coronavirus death.
– No threat
State Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ole Henrik Kratt-Bjorkholt, told VG that the government has a strategy and contingency plan to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and is prepared for several scenarios.
– As of today, there is no indication that contamination by imports from China or anywhere else poses a threat to Norway or will affect our situation, says Bjorkholt.
He points out that Norway’s population is well vaccinated and within local measures.
– If new mutations or other cases of concern arise, the Institute of Public Health will inform the government. We have the tools we need in our toolbox to deal with the situation should it arise.
Family Health International does not recommend these measures
Infection control director at the Public Health Institute (FHI) Priben Avetsland notes that there are already hundreds of thousands of people infected every week in this country.
– But few people become seriously ill. An additional few hundred infected people arriving from abroad will not affect the Norwegian epidemic.
Aavitsland says Norway has learned from alpha, delta and omicron viral variants that these variants cannot be stopped at the border.
It has been almost a year since all local measures were removed, and the population is well protected from serious diseases after vaccination and infection.
He believes that the situation in China is a problem for China, not Norway.
We’ll get infected
– We have a very different population immunity than in China, because most adults have been vaccinated two to four times and somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of the population has been infected.
– What does it take for us to have a situation like the one in China?
– Then there must be a completely new variable that does not care about the previous immunity. Then we are already talking about another pandemic.
The director of the FHI states that this is a virus that the vast majority of us will contract many times in the coming years.
Thus, events in China are not decisive as to whether or not new variants will emerge. This is why it is not a major concern.
Few from China
Espen Rostrop Nakstad, assistant director of health, points out the opposite TV 2 There is currently a greater internal prevalence of infection in Norway than in many other countries.
– Very few flights from China to Norway compared to Nordic and European travel activity. Therefore, we did not consider special measures for travelers from China in the current situation, Nakstad wrote for TV2.
He encounters little resistance
Aavitsland says the virus in China encounters little resistance in a society where no one has ever been infected and where few are well vaccinated.
– Therefore, there is no special pressure on the virus to grow in a direction that bypasses the immune system. The virus spreads fine as is.
In the rest of the world, Aavitsland points out, the virus affects populations that have largely been infected before and vaccinated multiple times.
Viruses that bypass this mixed immunity would have an advantage here. Thus, any new variants of concern will most likely come from the Western world, I think.
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