Health Director Bjorn Goldvog says it is appropriate to introduce entry measures now, despite opposition from the World Health Organization. The government has recommended several measures.
Goldvog will not go further on the measures recommended by the government’s Norwegian Directorate of Health, but says that in Friday’s meetings many recommendations were made to the government.
– We have also made our recommendations to the government on other measures, but the government itself will come back to that, Guldvog tells NTB.
What is already clear is that a quarantine obligation will be imposed on all visitors from eight South African countries. This is happening despite the advice of the World Health Organization to wait with it and with the great indignation of African countries.
The scale is in proportion to the situation now, Goldfog believes.
Everyone should be in quarantine hotels
Everyone, including those fully vaccinated, must be isolated in hotels upon arrival in Norway and direct flights from countries will be banned.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have been conducting national assessments, and in this case we are also well coordinated with the European Union and other countries in Europe,” Guldvog says.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store commented on the coronavirus situation in Norway on Friday:
– We understand the WHO’s view on the introduction of limited entry restrictions, and in Norway we are not reimposing entry restrictions either. Coming to Norway from these countries will not be prohibited, but together with the FHI we recommend re-entering quarantine, says the health director.
It is believed that it is a proportionate measure being introduced, although there is little information about the new virus variant so far.
From now on, we mean it, and it’s important in such cases not to put the population at significant immediate risk. This is not to prevent entirely new virus variants from entering the country. It’s practically impossible, says Guldvog, but it would be to delay the introduction of new virus variants, which means we can implement targeted measures if necessary.
NIPH: Inside the maneuvering room
The National Institute of Public Health also believes that the measures taken by Norway fall within the scope of work provided by the World Health Organization.
An important principle of the International Health Regulations is that one should not place restrictions that create unnecessary obstacles to travel and trade between countries. It is also important that countries that discover viruses, mutations or other microbes quickly share new information about this and not be penalized in the form of restrictions that cause harm to the country, says FHI Director, Frode Forland.
It is believed that the measures that will be implemented will allow early detection of new cases. At the same time, he says it is not certain that the type of virus originated in South Africa, and notes that the case proven in Belgium has links to Egypt and Turkey.
– We think it’s within the WHO’s room of maneuver, he said.
You can go back to the beginning
The Norwegian Directorate of Health states that it may take several weeks before we have good knowledge about how well vaccines protect against the new variant.
– The experiences of the Norwegian Directorate of Health that experts are very concerned about the new alternative. In the worst case, we could end up in a situation where vaccines do not provide adequate protection against serious diseases (“from start to finish”), the directorate writes in its professional basis to the government.
Health authorities will buy time to plan any measures that can be introduced when the virus variant finally comes here as well.
The initial risk assessment from NIPH is that a variant may have greater dispersal susceptibility and that it may be able to evade immunity to a greater extent than other variants. That’s what we should spend some time explaining, before we can relax about the check-in procedure, says Guldvog.
The quarantine obligation applies to all travelers from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini and Malawi and is offered from midnight to Saturday night.
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