– If we manage to reduce the level of infection in Oslo and Norway once again, then we can not afford to be set back by new imported virus variants. It is extremely important that people limit travel abroad to an absolute minimum, says Johansen to Dagbladet and makes demands:
– First and foremost, we need a requirement for travel, and that all unnecessary trips abroad are prohibited. We also need everyone to test themselves before traveling abroad and after arriving in Norway. It is necessary that we have the greatest possible security against the import of new virus variants.
Johansen tightened the infection control measures in Oslo for the third time in just over two weeks as late as 15 March. Now he hopes he has completed his final shutdown.
– Now the people of Oslo have shown that this is not really just up to ourselves. Oslo seems to be able to put down the third wave of infection, and I hope that we do not have to close again. I hope we have shut down for the last time. Therefore, it is important to strengthen control of the infection and to gain access to more vaccine doses.
The Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) states that it has been registered that 75,907 people have arrived in Norway since 15 March. 55,698 of them have had full or partial exemptions from the quarantine, while 20,209 have been covered by the ordinary quarantine obligation.
The vast majority who have arrived in Norway and have been exempted from the quarantine obligation have made a business trip. A large proportion of commuters from Sweden and Finland have also been registered among those who have had exceptions.
Dominates in Norway
Now it is the British virus variant that dominates the spread of infection in Norway. Cases of the South African and Brazilian virus variants have also been identified.
However, the virus is constantly mutating, and there may be variants that are more contagious, more deadly and against which the vaccines do not have as good an effect. This is what Johansen fears most.
– I fear that new mutated virus variants will come to Norway as a result of import infection. There may be new variants that are more contagious than the British virus variant and against which the vaccines may not have as good an effect, and that is what I fear most.
Preliminary studies indicate that the vaccines have a good effect against both the British and the South African virus variant, but NIPH states that there are still a number of questions related to the vaccines’ effect against the Brazilian variant.
Until Wednesday, up to 30 people had left the quarantine hotels at Gardermoen before the quarantine was completed, and communications consultant Roger Sandum in Ullensaker municipality informs Dagbladet that up to four people have done the same between Wednesday and Friday.
Dagbladet asked Johansen what he thought about this.
– Some may probably think that it is unreasonable to carry out the quarantine at a quarantine hotel when you have a house available, where you could have stayed. It is not difficult to understand that, says Johansen and continues:
– But with our experiences with import infection and what significance it has had for the epidemic in Norway, I would strongly encourage you to abide by the rules, and if you do not do so you can get quite heavy fines.
Johansen points out that you can be infected even if you feel healthy.
– My impression is that most of them are good. I understand that it can be both boring and sad to carry out the quarantine at a quarantine hotel at Easter, but I hope that these rules also affect people’s desire to travel.
In recent days, there have been a number of good vaccine news. In addition to being up to 95 percent effective against severe covid-19 disease, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are also 90 percent effective against covid-19 infection. Pfizer has also stated that their preliminary research shows that their vaccines are very effective even after six months, which is as far as they have come at the present time.
At the same time, FHI has extended the AstraZeneca break until 15 April as a result of needing more information before making a decision on the use of the vaccine in Norway.
– These days, Oslo passes 100,000 vaccines since the vaccination started with Svein Andersen. Oslo Municipality has the capacity to inject 110,000 vaccines a week, and we really hope that in the future we will have the opportunity to use more of that capacity. We have also asked people to register for vaccination, so that they can show up at short notice, says Johansen and says that he has also registered.
– Even though there has been bad news related to the AstraZeneca vaccine, there is no doubt that vaccines have a very good effect overall, and are our way out of the pandemic.
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