Somalia: One in Every 100 Norwegian Somalis Has Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Abdi Said, a council politician for the Socialist Left Party talking in Oslo city council in January. Photo: Oslo City Council.

One in every hundred Norwegian Somalis has tested positive for covid-19, while more than one in five of all coronavirus cases in the country were seen in people born outside Norway, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has revealed in a briefing note submitted to the government.

According to the note, 290 Norwegian residents of Somali origin have so far tested positive for the virus, a significant number in a community numbering only 28,696, and more than ten times the prevalence within the country as a whole.

Somali Swedes also made up a disproportionate number of those hospitalised with coronavirus in Stockholm, something health experts have said reflects how much more common it is for vulnerable elderly members of the community to share accomodation with younger ones.

Abdi Said, a Somali origin politician with Norway's Socialist Left party, last week told state broadcaster NRK that he felt the disproportionate number of Somali patients was "sad".

"It is a vulnerable group lived cooped up close together with one another. So there is reason to be worried."

Tore Steen, a doctor who works as infectious diseases consultant in Oslo municipality, said last week that there had been an increase in infections in Stovner, Gamle Oslo and Alna districts, all of which have high immigrant populations.

"In recent weeks we have seen a trend towards more new infection in neighbourhoods with many immigrants, Steen said.

Said said it was regrettable that Somali cafés and other meeting places in the Grønland district had not been closed earlier.

"Even after the coronavirus deaths in other European countries, you could see groups of Somalis gathering here, and the café was still open. It was the police who shut it down."

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