COVID-19: Norway Highlights Testing and International Cooperation as Key Response Elements

By Defense.Info

The mortality rate in Norway from Covid-19 is about 0.45 per cent.

This is extremely low compared to other countries where the virus is widespread.


According to an article by  published on March 26, 2020:

Italy’s mortality rate from the coronavirus is almost 10 per cent.

Spain’s mortality rate is almost 7 per cent, while in the United Kingdom, that number is 5 per cent.

In Norway’s neighbouring countries, Denmark and Sweden, the mortality rate due to the coronavirus is 2 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively.

All these figures are from the EU’s Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) as of Wednesday 25 March.

Norway: Many infections, few deaths

To date, Norway is among the countries in the world with the largest proportion of recorded corona infections in its population.

But now, with around 3300 people who are confirmed to have been infected, and with only 14 deaths as of March 26, Norway’s situation is very unusual compared to a number of other countries.

There are far fewer deaths among those with the disease.

Many, many tests

“I think the explanation may partly be related to the different levels of testing in different countries,” says Didrik Vestrheim, a senior consultant at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).

“We have tested a lot of people in Norway, and so far we are one of the countries that has tested the highest percentage of our population,” he said.

Thus, it’s possible that some countries, such as Italy and Spain, have simply detected far fewer people infected by the virus.

If the numbers of people who are shown to be infected by testing is lower than the actual number of people who are infected, the mortality rate will be far higher among the people in whom the disease has been confirmed.

When the numbers of infected are lower, then the mortality rate among those you have confirmed will be higher.

In addition, the infection can spread more easily because fewer people in the population know that they have the virus.

An April 20,2020 update put Norway’s cases at 7,103 with 165 deaths with 32 recoveries.

And as of April 20,2020, Norway is easing restrictions.

Norway, which says it has COVID-19 under control, on Monday (Apr 20) started opening up pre-schools after a month-long closure, an AFP correspondent reported.

Authorities have said the reopening was possible because children have been less affected by COVID-19, although some parents have expressed reservations over the decision….

According to the Norwegian roadmap, physiotherapists and psychologists are also allowed to return to work on Monday, with hairdressers and dermatologists also opening this week.

Younger children in primary schools will start returning to classrooms on Apr 27.

While many shops have been allowed to remain open, bars and most restaurants will continue to keep their doors closed.

Cultural and sporting events will remain banned until at least Jun 15.

The Nordic country, home to some 5.4 million people, has registered 7,068 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 154 deaths.

Over the last few days the country has observed a drop in new admissions of COVID-19 patients to hospitals, and in early April the government announced it considered the outbreak to be “under control.”

In addition to the many restrictions and regulations that remain in place, Norwegian authorities are now relying on tracing via an app and widespread testing to contain the epidemic.

For the Norwegian government, a strong national response needs to be coupled with international cooperation.

According to an April 16, 2020 story published on the Norwegian government’s website: “Norway Seeking Increased International Cooperation to deal with the Coronavirus Crisis.”

Widespread international cooperation is of vital importance in the efforts to alleviate the impacts of the coronavirus crisis. The Government is now considering a Norwegian contribution to the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust as well as increased funding to lending schemes for low-income countries.

Minister of Finance Jan Tore Sanner (Conservative Party) took part today in a video conference meeting of the IMF International Monetary and Financial Committee, which comprises ministers of finance and central bank governors. Multilateral cooperation was one of the key topics at the meeting.

In order to meet the need for support to vulnerable low-income countries, the IMF is calling for increased funding for the subsidised schemes for these countries financed under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT). Norway is now considering the possibility of contributing to lending funds for the poorest countries through the PRGT. The Government is also assessing whether to allocate development assistance funding to the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT). The CCRT provides debt relief for the poorest countries by covering debt service payments to the IMF during the period in which these countries are dealing with the pandemic.

‘I am pleased that the IMF is responding quickly to the crisis, and that the member countries are demonstrating their willingness to work together to re-activate economies. These efforts are designed to help vulnerable countries that lack an adequate health care system and economic structure for dealing with the ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are seeking common solutions to common challenges,’ said Minister of Finance Jan Tore Sanner.

No country can solve this crisis on its own. This is why Norway is seeking increased international cooperation to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

‘Norway supports a shared endeavour to give the poorest countries debt service relief for both interest and instalment payments. This will enable them to free up resources they can use to fight the coronavirus outbreak,’ said Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein (Christian Democratic Party).

‘The corona pandemic and the comprehensive infection control measures in many countries will lead to a major decline in the world economy. We must work to strengthen multilateral cooperation to help people and enterprises get through this global crisis,’ said Mr Sanner.

History has shown the importance of economic cooperation and free trade across national borders. Prosperity in Norway and many other countries is rooted in trade and commercial activity. Open markets and regulated multilateral cooperation have helped to promote economic growth and created millions of jobs. This world order is now under threat. Never before has it been more important to work to achieve broader international cooperation – in the Nordic countries, in Europe, and throughout the world.

‘The pandemic does not stop at national borders. To get through this, we are dependent on the success of other countries in limiting the spread of infection and controlling their economic fallout, and we all need to ensure that the international markets still exist when this is over,’ said Mr Sanner.

‘The UN, IMF, World Bank, WHO and WTO all have a key role to play in the fight against the pandemic. Norway, too, is doing what it can to ensure that developing countries will be able to manage the coronavirus outbreak and its long-term ramifications. Among other things, we were behind the initiative to establish – and have contributed to – the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund, and we are providing considerable support to vaccine development efforts. We must protect those who are most vulnerable, and prevent today’s health crisis from becoming tomorrow’s hunger disaster and social crisis,’ said Mr Ulstein.