The Norwegian Government wishes to give the sectors affected by the COVID-19 measures greater predictability. Work is therefore underway on a general framework of packages of infection control measures that can be deployed when needed.
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‘We need good preparedness to handle possible outbreaks of COVID-19 and new virus variants. We also need to be prepared to handle situations that we hope will not arise. These packages of infection control measures will offer greater predictability. We must also ensure that we can quickly introduce measures at the border if so required, due to new virus mutations,’ says Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The situation remains uncertain in both the short and the long term. Packages of infection control measures must serve as a tool and be available for deployment when the pandemic situation changes – both when measures are tightened and when they are eased. The measures must be adapted to the concrete situation, they must be proportionate, and they must be based on up-to-date knowledge from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
‘The infection control measures have had major consequences for all of society and our economy. The packages of measures will primarily be kept in preparedness for future decision-making regarding the level of measures and will offer better support, predictability, and make it possible to weigh the benefits against the costs,’ states Mr Støre.
Feedback from the sectors requested
The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have provided input regarding the content of the packages of measures (link – coming). In its further work on the packages of measures, the different specialist ministries will ask organisations and representatives from the various sectors to provide input, with a view to devising the most effective packages of measures.
‘We will involve the key players in order to optimise the packages, and for the sectors to be as prepared as possible if we need to deploy these packages,’ says Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol.
For the packages of measures to be as effective as possible, it is also important that we have more knowledge about their effects on society. The Norwegian Government recently appointed an expert committee to investigate and assess the societal consequences of the infection control measures and the packages of measures.
New COVID-19 strategy
The Norwegian Government is also updating its pandemic management strategy and emergency preparedness plan. The revised strategy will be presented in the spring of 2022 and will describe how to live with the virus in the long term. A primary objective is to minimise the burden on the individual and on society. The packages of measures will be an important part of the emergency preparedness plan.