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Cheers, Corona | In response to European corona restrictions: – Infection control theatre

The last week has several countries have introduced entry restrictions for travelers from China. Last in line are both France and Britain, which announced on Friday that they are requiring travelers from China to undergo a negative corona test upon entry.

The measures come into effect on January 1 and 5, respectively.

Subject director at the Institute of Public Health (FHI), Preben Aavitsland, spoke out against the restrictions on Twitter on Friday. He refers to the British measures as “public health theatre”, or infection control theater in Norwegian.

– From the outside, it looks like an infection prevention theater. In other words, introduce measures so that it looks like you are doing something for the population. but in the big picture it means little, Aavitsland explains to Nettavisen and adds:

– We are surprised that some European countries introduce requirements that people must submit a negative test before boarding a flight from China to Europe or get tested upon landing in Europe.

– No professional grounding

It is clear that the measures have no professional basis.

– FHI has informed the government that it is not necessary or reasonable from an infection prevention perspective to take special measures for travelers from overseas, even from China. He will draw resources from more important work. WHO and the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) give the same advice to their member countries, Aavitsland explains.

He believes the measures will not pick up all the infection.

– Such tests only catch some people, as other infected people may be in the incubation stage and still have a negative test. Furthermore, Europe is in the midst of a major surge with millions of people infected per week, he says and adds:

– A few thousand people infected from China do not affect the European epidemic in any way, says Aavitsland.

– No threat to Norway

So far, there is little indication that it is relevant to introduce similar measures in Norway. FHI’s recommendation is clear, but they don’t have the final say.

– However, it is the government that, according to the Infection Control Act and the coronavirus preparedness plan, decides on any measures and the government in Norway, as in all other countries, may in some cases emphasize considerations other than those related to the ‘infection control,’ explains Aavitsland.

State Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Care, Ole Henrik Bjørkholt, tells Nettavisen that the infection imported from China is unlikely to pose a threat to Norway.

– To date, there is nothing to indicate that contamination from imports from China or other countries poses a threat to Norway or will affect our situation. We have a well vaccinated population and no domestic measures, explains Bjørkholt.

It is clear that the government listens to the advice of FHI.

– If new mutations or other worrying situations arise, the Institute of Public Health will notify the government and we have the right tools we need in our toolbox to handle the situation should it arise.

Fear of underestimation

The reason why several countries have decided to introduce entry restrictions for travelers from China is the growing infectious pressure in the country.

According to official but unconfirmed estimates from China, 248 million Chinese were infected with the coronavirus in the first three weeks of December.

Official and confirmed data on Friday showed around 5,500 new cases, as well as one death, had been detected in the past 24 hours. Also on Saturday, China says there has been only one new coronary-related death.

However, British health risk firm Airfinity believes that up to 9,000 people die from the coronavirus in the country every day.

The World Health Organization, WHO, is calling on China to be open about the figures going forward.

– WHO has once again called for the regular sharing of specific and ongoing information on the epidemiological situation and information on vaccination and vaccine status, especially among vulnerable groups and people over the age of 60, a statement reads. WHO statement on Saturday night Norwegian time.

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