07:55am Wednesday 16 October 2019

Updated information about the new coronavirus

undefinedNorwegian health authorities continue to follow the situation after the European and International Network for disease control identified two cases infected by the new coronavirus. So far there is no evidence for any other infected cases.

There are still only two patients who have fallen ill with the new virus, separated by a three month interval.

“The fact that there was a long time span between the two cases and that there has been no contact between them suggests that the virus is not contagious. It is not clear whether it is transmitted between humans. Coronavirus is found in both birds and mammals, and one cannot exclude the possibility that this virus has been transmitted from animals to humans”, says Director Karin Rønning in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).

The two cases both had severe respiratory symptoms. The two were hospitalized respectively 5 and 7 days after symptom onset, and subsequently also developed renal failure. One is deceased and the other is still critically ill and currently receiving intensive care in the UK.

Facts about Coronaviruses:

  • The detected virus belongs to a large group of viruses called coronaviruses.
  • A number of “common cold” viruses in humans also belong to the coronavirus family.
  • These are commonly occurring virus that cause upper respiratory tract infections and, in rare cases, pneumonia.
  • The new virus is not the same virus that caused the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003. Both viruses belong to the coronavirus family.
  • Different coronaviruses are found in both birds and mammals, and such viruses may also be transmitted from animals to humans.
  • Coronaviruses are often transmitted via droplets, but infection via feces (fecal-oral route) may also occur.


Current situation

NIPH is informed that there are hospitalized patients in Denmark with respiratory symptoms. The patients had all been traveling in the same parts of the world. The Danish health authorities inform that these cases were not infected with the new virus.

The Department of Virology at NIPH is preparing a diagnostic testing procedure for the new virus.


Since we are dealing with a newly discovered virus, we do not yet have sufficient knowledge of how contagious the virus is, and who may be at risk.

“At the present time, it is necessary to have a “precautionary approach” and to give some advice”, says Director Karin Rønning.

We therefore advise the following: If you have been traveling to Saudi Arabia or Qatar and developed a fever and cough and/or difficulty breathing within 10 days of your return, you are advised to contact your physician. Make an appointment by phone, and inform the doctor about the condition and where you have been.

“Health professionals who suspect the disease in patients who have been in these particular areas of the world should notify the Officer on duty at the NIPH”, says Rønning.

Travel Advice

There are no longer any travel restrictions to Saudi Arabia or Qatar, or when it comes to pilgrims to the Hajj, which takes place from 24th to 29th October.

  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health, PO Box 4404 Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo

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