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The answers to your most-asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak in Norway

The situation around the coronavirus outbreak is developing quickly, which in many cases may lead to confusion or worry. We asked you what questions you had about the outbreak and reactive measures in Norway, and we're working to answer them in this article.

The answers to your most-asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak in Norway
Officers of the Norwegian Civil Defense are seen at the border between Norway and Sweden in Swinesund on March 16, 2020. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB Scanpix / AFP
If you've got a question, please fill in the quick form in the article below.
 
 
We'll update this article over the coming days with the answers as we are able to respond to them, checking with relevant authorities when needed.
 
Please note that that while we verify all the information about the coronavirus we publish on The Local with authorities, we are not medical experts and cannot answer any medical questions.
 
Instead, please refer to the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health or call an on-call doctor via telephone number 116117. 
 
Here are the questions we've received so far, with answers added when we have managed to do so. 
 
1. What do I do if I have symptoms?
 
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, such as a dry, continuous cough or a fever, you should stay at home and avoid social contact, according to Norway's national online health advisory website HelseNorge. 
 
You should remain home until one days after the symptoms disappear. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has produced this leaflet on what to do when you stay home. Here's is an updated Norwegian version, giving the latest policy on social distancing. 
 
While you are home, you should be careful to wash your hands long and often and to cough in such away so as not to infect those you live with.
 
 
If you become so ill that you need medical attention, do not go to a hospital or a doctor's surgery, but instead contact your GP on the phone.
 
If you need urgent health care and cannot get through to your GP, call 116 117. If the illness becomes so severe that you feel your life is at risk, call 113. 
 
2. Does home quarantine mean I can't leave my house at all? 
 
No. According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, you can still walk outside, but you must try to keep a distance of between one and two metres from others, and you should avoid places where it is difficult to keep a distance. 
 
If possible, ask someone with no symptoms to shop for you, but if necessary you can go to shops and pharmacies to buy essential goods and medicines. But avoid queues and keep a distance from others. 
 
You should not go to work, go to school, or use public transport. 
 
You can socialise normally with those you live with. 
 
3. Who is getting tested in Norway? 
 
In total, 18,062 people have been tested in Norway,  a higher proportion than most other countries. The number of tests carried out in the country’s laboratories has already doubled and the increase is expected to continue.
 
Norway is concentrating testing on people from vulnerable groups such as the aged and those suffering from coronary illnesses or diabetes, and on those working in the health services.
 
 
4. Why they don't have tests available? Why they are not testing those who have symptoms?
 
Due to capacity limits at its laboratories, Norway,  in common with other countries, has  decided not to test those who have only mild symptoms, instead asking them to stay at home. 
 
5. How can we tell if the measures we've taken are making a difference?
 
If you study the weekly reports on the National Institute of Public Health's website, there are graphs showing the number of daily cases. If the rise in the number of cases starts to fall off, that means the progress of the virus is being slowed, and the national effort is worthwhile. 
 
6. What’s the average time it takes for successful patients to recover after diagnosed?
 
There don't seem to be public figures for this, but it seems to depend very much on the severity of the illnesses, with the worst cases battling infections for 40 days or more, and the mildest cases more or well again in less than two weeks. Even after recovery, though, there is evidence that some patients suffer reduced lung capacity. 
 
Questions received and still to be answered: 
 
How do we know this will end in April? 
 
What will happen to tour guides or those who work in tourism if the season is closed?
 
I am an Indian National working in Oslo for 1.5 years but on 20th Feb 2020, I came to India for a vacation. Now I am planning to travel back to Oslo on 28th of March via Delhi-> Copenhagen-> Oslo , Am I allowed to enter Norway ?

 
How does Norway calculate deaths by coronavirus? Is it like Italy and Spain —  including patients that had comorbidities such as cancer, or is it for patients dead ONLY due to coronavirus, like the figures that Germany is providing? It eems that they are following the German communication style. The deaths figures don't make sense in view of the Italian, Chinese death rate of ca. 5%. In Norway it is 0.03%.
 

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COVID-19

Did Sweden’s state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

For his supporters, it was well-deserved, for his detractors a case of failing upwards. But when Sweden's Public Health Agency announced this month that state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell was taking a job at the World Health Organisation, both sides assumed it was true.

Did Sweden's state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

Now, it seems, the job might not be there after all. 

At the start of this month, Sweden’s Public Health Agency announced that Anders Tegnell was resigning to take up a post coordinating vaccine work with the World Health Organisation in Geneva. 

“I’ve worked with vaccines for 30 years and have at the same time always been inspired by international issues,” Tegnell said in the release. “Now I will have the chance to contribute to this comprehensive international work.”

During the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tegnell shot immediately from obscurity into the spotlight, gaining such celebrity status in Sweden that one fan had his profile tattooed onto his arm.

Internationally he was hailed by lockdown sceptics for his reasoned arguments against overly restrictive measures to control the spread of the virus. 

His new WHO appointment was reported all over the world. 

But on Tuesday, the Svenska Daglabdet newspaper revealed that the job had not yet been awarded. A spokesperson for the WHO said at a press conference in Geneva that “there is some confusion”, and that “this is an internal question.” 

According to the newspaper, there is even “a certain level of irritation” behind the scenes at the WHO that Sweden acted too soon and dispatched Tegnell to a job that did not actually exist yet. 

“We have received an offer from Sweden, which is still under discussion,” the organisation’s press spokesperson, Fadela Chaib, told the newspaper. 

On Thursday, the Public Health Agency’s press chief Christer Janson conceded that there had been a mistake and that the negotiation had not been completed.  

“We believed it was done, but it wasn’t,” he told Expressen in an interview. “It’s been a much longer process to get this completed than we thought. There’s been a misunderstanding and we regret that.” 

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