The mutated virus has been detected in several Østfold municipalities. The outbreak is linked to an ice hockey match last weekend.
The affected municipalities have now asked the government to introduce local corona measures.
So far, the mutated virus has been detected in Halden and Sarpsborg in one case each.
The person from Halden who has been confirmed infected participated in an ice hockey event on Saturday 23 January.
So far, 30 people with connections to the ice hockey community have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease.
– We expect that everyone who was infected in the ice rink in Halden last Saturday, is infected with the English virus variant, says chief physician Peder Aavitsland at the National Institute of Public Health to TV 2.
He says that they expect to have it confirmed in the next few days.
Considering stricter measures
The mutated virus, which originates from the United Kingdom, is more contagious, around 40 to 70 percent, but it does not cause more serious disease.
Three of the 30 who have so far been confirmed infected in the outbreak live in Sarpsborg, three live in Fredrikstad and the rest live in Halden.
– Several hundred people are already in quarantine in Halden, so it is not certain that there will be much more infection from that outbreak, says Aavitsland.
– Will it be necessary to introduce stricter measures in the affected municipalities?
– There may be cases that have not been discovered yet, so it is now being strongly considered whether Halden, Sarpsborg and Fredrikstad must introduce some stricter measures in the time ahead until we are sure that we have complete control over the outbreak, he says.
Want control for now
Aavitsland says that the outbreak is not surprising because the mutated variant is more contagious.
He explains that when they discover such outbreaks, they work extra hard to stop it.
– We do not want the variant to gain a foothold too soon. We want to postpone it as long as possible because the variant is more contagious and more difficult to keep under control, says Aavitsland and continues:
– We want to get it under control until we have vaccinated the risk groups.
The superior says that they reckon it is not possible to keep the virus variant under control in the long run, but that it is possible to delay it.
Currently, it is in Eastern Norway where most cases of the mutated virus have been discovered in Norway.
Mayor Anne-Kari Holm in Halden municipality says that they must expect further closure in the municipality.
– I envision the same regime as it was in Nordre Follo, says Holm to TV 2.
Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) says that they are working on Sunday evening to assess which measures will be introduced in Halden, Sarpsborg, Fredrikstad and the surrounding areas.
He says that people must expect that there may be measures already on Sunday night. He asks people to follow.