Norway’s health authority advises caution over easing Covid-19 restrictions

Pictured are people on Karl Johan Street in Oslo.
The NIPH has said that it is too soon to consider lifting Covid-19 restrictions. Pictured are people on Karl Johan Street in Oslo. Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) said on Thursday that it is too soon to consider loosening national coronavirus restrictions, despite a recent drop in cases.

Following record daily infection numbers and hospitalisations in mid-December, when daily cases topped 6,000 cases and admissions reached a pandemic high of 383, the government introduced several new coronavirus restrictions, including a national ban on the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants.

Since then, infection numbers have decreased somewhat. The seven-day rolling average on December 30th was 3,377 registered infections per day.

Despite the recent decline in cases, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) said it is too soon to ease any measures.

“The situation is unstable with regard to infections, and when we can ease the measures depends on how quickly the infection spreads,” Frode Forland, director of the NIPH, told broadcaster TV2.

The measures are set to be reassessed on January 14th, and even though the infection trend appears to be declining, it would not be appropriate to examine the measures before this date, Forland told the broadcaster.

“It is right to continue with the (current) measures until we can observe the situation. We have too few figures to say how the infection situation is going with Omicron spreading across the country,” he said.

Forland also said that he expected infections to increase again in the coming months.

“I think it was lucky we did it (introduced measures) before Christmas because now we can see the effect on infection rates. But we still must expect an increase in the number of infections in January and February,” Forland said.

Earlier this week, the Norwegian Directorate of Health warned that a drop in infection numbers could more probably be attributed to fewer people testing for the virus rather than the spread of the disease slowing.

The senior health official added that it would have to become clear that the Omicron variant won’t overrun the healthcare system when dominant in the country for measures to be lifted.


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