In late January and February, Norway will have enough for a quick check on a citizen for a week. But not everyone gets a week of testing.
It has been four weeks since the Omigran variant was discovered by South African researchers and three weeks since the first variant was discovered in Norway.
– We got a lot of omega-3 infections very quickly, which can sometimes be the country with the biggest eruption. This contributed to the fact that dealing with Omigran became very important in Norway. Then we saw in recent weeks that it has gained prominence in almost all European countries. This characterizes Govt’s handling in most countries, says Director of Health Bjorn Gouldwok.
But health officials want to know more about the variation:
– This is the most important thing. We now need to know how serious it can be for those who are infected. We know that it has the best spread potential even for those who have been vaccinated twice and thrice. But we believe the vaccine affects the infection. This is good because it protects against serious diseases, not like participating, but even better, says the director of health.
– Now how do you assess the situation: can the measures be made easier or should they be tightened further?
– I hope the actions we have chosen now are appropriate for the situation we are in. We follow the situation closely day by day and make new recommendations to the government when needed. We see a flat or infectious decrease, but there is uncertainty as to whether this is due to a decrease in the number of delta cases while Omigron is rising. With Omigron we can get a hidden spread. We have to wait until Omigron dominates next year, says Goldwalk.
Gets many quick tests
The big question is whether there will be an even greater number of people who are seriously ill enough to challenge the efficiency of the health service.
– In the absence of that knowledge, many activities have been initiated, says Goldwalk.
He points to an important step in controlling the infection situation in the future: rapid tests.
But the availability of quick tests in Norway has been a recurring theme throughout the fall. Health officials pointed to several tests in early December Can change further intrusive activities in the future.
– We will now purchase self-tests and quick tests so that everyone in the average population can be tested once a week, says Goldwalk.
But not everyone gets a quick test this week. Only available in Oslo Priority groups are self-tests.
– Is there a problem with the availability of tests internationally?
– We have experienced the possibility of entering into contracts, and we have received assurances of deliveries in the next few weeks this year and January. Large scale is coming especially in the third week of January, Guldvog says.
He explains that Norway plans to receive 3.4 million rapid tests in the 51st week and 2.2 million in the 52nd week.
– But the previously mentioned 30 million will not come until January?
– How much is coming at different times is uncertain.
Spends millions of kroner
– In the UK, people can order a free package of seven self-examinations every day. Why can’t this be done in Norway?
– We went inside and looked at the need to use corona certificates in various areas, schools, kindergartens, important community activities, says Goldwalk.
– Are you getting enough funding from the government to get the tests we need in the future?
– The government decides what we buy, but we continue to evaluate whether new construction contracts are needed to increase it. Of course, millions and billions of kroner are used for this, says Goldwalk.
– But is there a risk of falling behind if we do not get the tests we need now in the future?
– We don’t think so. The situation may always change and the future will be different. In the months of January and February, we hope to be able to carry out the tests we need, he said.
Municipalities now need to test five percent of their population a week. Over the past two weeks, Oslo has been up 7-8 percent, leading to two-day test queues at the most popular test stations.
– Do municipalities need to increase testing capacity?
– This has already been done and is being tested more and more about looking at quick tests and PCR tests. If so, the question is whether you can create systems for posting positive self – tests yourself, he says.
– As the epidemic with delta, which has been managed more effectively in many parts of the country, has increased, the overall burden has become much greater, and it is clear that national action is needed. Then came the new variant omikron, which changed the rules of the game, he says.
– Are we ready for that?
– Yes, we were ready for that to happen, but at the moment we do not think it’s possible, says Goldwalk.
The Director of Health says that we need to plan and weigh which scenes are possible and which are serious.
– We must take into account that the situation will worsen. There is a balance in finding the right approach, he says.
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