Wednesday, January 19

Nakstad: – The measures are absolutely proportionate

The intervention measures the government is introducing are absolutely necessary, says assistant health director Espen Rostrup Nakstad.


On Tuesday night, the government came with the news that intervention measures will be introduced again due to the seriously rising corona infection in Norway.

Among the measures is a call again to reduce the number of close contacts, and not have more than 10 guests at home in addition to their own household.

Disappointing news for many in the run-up to Christmas, but valuable as a measure, says assistant health director Espen Rostrup Nakstad.

– It will reduce the contact between people overall. We now live relatively normally, and are in contact with many within a week. When the infection pressure is as high as it is, the probability of you coming into contact with an infected person will be quite high.

The measures can drastically reduce the infection pressure, Nakstad believes.

– It is needed, because now there are 5000 registered in one day in addition to dark numbers, says assistant health director Espen Rostrup Nakstad to VG.

SERIOUS: Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre presented the new, intrusive measures on Tuesday night.

– Absolutely proportionate

Assistant Health Director Espen Rostrup Nakstad answered questions directly in VGTV Wednesday morning.

Behind this is the gloomy situation with record high infection rates and so many hospitalized that the government on Tuesday night saw itself forced to reintroduce a number of the restrictions we lived under earlier in the pandemic.

All measures come into force on Thursday night. They last for four weeks, but will be reconsidered after two weeks.

– Are the measures proportionate?

– They are absolutely proportionate. If we look at the situation in the hospitals, it is on a par with the highest we had when the pandemic began. In April 2020, we had 325 hospitalized, now we have 320, so we are at that level, he says.

Nakstad adds that the corona infected come on top of all the other patients. In 2020, when society was more closed down than now, people lived a calmer life and there were fewer hospitalized people with other infectious diseases than corona, such as respiratory diseases.

– Combined with a lot of sick leave, there are a lot of respiratory diseases out and about, it makes the situation quite precarious. And that only with the delta variant, says the health top to VG.

Winds up rapid test crisis

At a time when the infection is high and many still want to meet people, rapid tests have become a tool to limit the infection. This has led to empty shelves at many of the outlets.

On Tuesday, Aftenposten wrote that Norway’s emergency stockpile for rapid tests was empty already Thursday last week.

But there is no shortage of quick tests in this country, says Nakstad.

– Out in the municipalities, there are 3.5 million rapid tests in stock, and we will send out 1.4 million tests this week, and the same next week. In addition, we procure several million rapid tests on an ongoing basis, says Nakstad.

He says that in addition, more than half a million quick tests have been bought at pharmacies in recent weeks.

However, Nakstad does not rule out that it may be a challenge in the future.

– What is the problem is if we are now going to start testing ourselves even more often, then we need more quick tests. Therefore, we make continuous purchases of it, and then it may be that delivery difficulties over the winter if the whole world does the same, but we work as hard as we can to make sure we have good quick tests also through the winter, he says.

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