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It will be less normal than we have planned for

Omikron has been discovered in a number of countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, Denmark and Portugal.

The virus variant is probably more contagious, and experts are concerned about whether it reduces the effect of the vaccines.

– We assess the additional risk we have received through the new virus variant, which the WHO says entails a significant risk. We must make sure that we do what we can to protect the population, says Guldvog.

Will affect everyday life

The Norwegian Directorate of Health has submitted a new recommendation on measures to the government. It deals with updated travel measures, advice on testing, infection tracking, isolation and quarantine. In addition, they have considered which national measures we should have, says Guldvog.

– We have not proposed a full shutdown, he says.

At the same time, he believes that if the omicron is confirmed in Norway, it will have consequences.

– I think it is likely that this can affect our everyday lives. It will be less normal than the ones we have planned for, says Guldvog.

Exactly how different it will be, he thinks, is difficult to predict, but the Norwegian population must be prepared for measures.

– We envisage that some advice and recommendations, perhaps also some injunctions, must be necessary to have. But I’m not quite sure yet. The next few weeks will provide answers and clarify the situation, says Gulvdog.

More national governance

One of the measures that is up for consideration is more extensive use of bandages.

– Then there is a trade-off that this should apply to the country or be targeted at some regions, says Guldvog.

He is clear on what he himself thinks, but points out that the final decision lies with the government.

– A new virus variant points in the direction that face masks should not only apply to the regions.

Throughout the autumn, it has largely been up to the municipalities to introduce local measures when needed. In general, Guldvog believes that the new virus variant requires more national management.

– With a new virus variant, we believe it is necessary to lift the national communication, says the health director.

– A greater load

The Norwegian Directorate of Health says that omicron is more contagious than previous variants.

– We know that it is more contagious, but we do not know to what extent it is more dangerous for people to become infected. If it is more contagious and just as dangerous, it will be a greater burden for the health service in general, says Guldvog.

At best, the variant turns out to give less risk of a serious course.

– But we do not yet have that knowledge.

The variant has not yet been proven in Norway. All virus samples that are suspicious are sequenced.

– We have also improved on what we should do when we get the first case, how we should track infection and gain control, says Guldvog.

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