Effective measures are in place if the Wuhan virus hits Norway

HospitalHospital.Photo: Pixabay
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A number of public agencies are prepared for the Wuhan virus to hit Norway at any time. The most important thing is to isolate anyone who has been infected.

On Monday, the Contingency Committee met for biological issues for the first time and discussed the virus outbreak, which has so far mainly affected China.

“We discussed the strategies we have for providing services to those who are ill and an active infection detection to prevent the virus from spreading,” said Health Director Bjørn Guldvog to NTB.

Healthcare stakeholders are already cooperating closely and are prepared if the virus comes to Norway.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian Defense, the police, the Directorate for Social Security and Emergency Response (DSB) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated in Monday’s meeting.

“We have well prepared if we are to get infected people,“ said the director of health.

Quarantine
Guldvog explained the main points of readiness as follows:

“The first cases of illness will probably be detected by someone getting sick and if they have either been in China or have been in contact with the virus outside of China. This must have happened within 14 days before they are ill.”

When such cases occur, a test will be taken.

“They will be taken care of by the local health service first. If they are not very seriously ill, they will initially be asked to voluntarily isolate themselves in their own homes. If they are seriously ill, they are hospitalized with a safe infection regimen and treatment,” added Guldvog.

Tracking
When the patient is isolated, the work of the health authorities begins with checks within the network of people the patient has been in contact with.

“We start by interviewing the patient about who they have been in contact with. Then we try to find all those they may have been infected with – and people they may have infected, precisely to prevent them from passing on to the rest of the population. These are effective measures that we are well trained in in Norway,” explained Guldvog.

He asked people who suspect they are infected by the Wuhan virus to contact the health service.

“But we don’t want them to show up physically. They should call their GP or 116 117, the national emergency number. Then they will get professional help with the virus and to prevent them from passing it on, ”he said.

En masse leave of absence
The reason why agencies such as the police and the defense were involved in Monday’s meeting is, among other things, to plan what will happen if a large proportion of the population is infected at the same time.

“We can get into a situation where many take sick leave at the same time, both in the police and the healthcare service. Then it is important to prepare. In addition, it is important that, for example, the police have good routines for handling people who may be infected.

Guldvog emphasized that there is still a lot they do not know about the new virus.

“We still don’t know enough about how contagious and how serious the virus is. But as the situation is now, it seems to be a relatively mild disease for the vast majority. People with chronic disorders, impaired immune systems and the elderly, may be more vulnerable. It is to protect those we implement the measures to limit the infection,” he said.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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