1. Preventing transmission
The section on PREVENTING TRANSMISSION includes information on key public health measures that aim to prevent the further spread of the disease. It details how countries are advising the general public and people who (might) have the disease to prevent further spread, as well as measures in place to test and identify cases, trace contacts, and monitor the scale of the outbreak.
1.1 Health communication
From 11 May the frequency of government’s online press conferences has been reduced from 7 to 3 times a week. From 8 June this has been further reduced to 2 times a week and to once a week in July. From the first week of August, press conferences have been held twice a week in most weeks.
Since May, special “health ambassadors” have been recruited among health workers working with migrants to disseminate information on COVID-19 within migrant populations.
Official advice on hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette was first issued on 27 January on the national television (The Daily Review at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK)) and has since been extended to include advice on physical distancing. Updated advice is available through the website HelseNorge (www.helsenorge.no), the main entry portal for general as well as individual patient information in Norway. Advice and information on COVID-19 is also available at the website of the Norwegian Institute for Public Health (NIPH) (https://www.fhi.no/en/op/novel-coronavirus-facts-advice/facts-and-general-advice/advice-and-information-to-public). The Institute also provides tailored information for citizens and employees with a foreign background in order to reach a larger audience. Videos and brochures on COVID-19 have been available in different languages since 16 March.
The website of the Norwegian Directorate of Health (DoH) provides information on the guidelines and governance for the public sector and health professionals (https://www.helsedirektoratet.no/english/corona). Further, all mobile phone users have received a text message on prevention measures they can take in relation to COVID-19 and a link to further official information on this topic. Major cities and many municipalities have also sent letters or text messages to their citizens on preventive measures and handling of COVID-19 locally
Information on outbreak severity and responses is updated daily, both by the government as well as the Institute of Public Health and the Directorate of Health. The government had been holding a daily online press conference and maintains a designated COVID-19 website, which also serves has a designated portal for all relevant public authorities (https://www.regjeringen.no/no/tema/koronavirus/id2692388/). From 8 June the press conference has been held twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Information is also distributed to the public through national broadcasting institutions, press briefings and releases. Major newspapers provide daily updates on the national reporting, and the Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) report on the state of COVID-19 patients in the hospitals in the regions (https://www.helse-sorost.no/beredskap-korona#antall-innlagte-pasienter-med-covid-19). Many municipalities have also made information available on the local webpages (https://www.oslo.kommune.no/koronavirus/).
The DoH has established a national helpline to answer questions on COVID-19 crises. The helpline is staffed by relevant personnel from the DoH or NIPH.