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HEALTH

Norway introduces quarantine for arrivals from France and Switzerland

Anyone arriving from Switzerland and France will now have to quarantine when they get to Norway.

Norway introduces quarantine for arrivals from France and Switzerland
Photo: JOSE JORDAN / STR / AFP

Norwegian authorities announced on Thursday that arrivals from Switzerland will be required to quarantine on arrival for ten days as of Saturday, August 8th. 

Infections have risen in Switzerland in recent days, with the numbers approaching 200 per day over the past week for the first time in months. 

 

 

In addition to adding Switzerland to the lists, quarantines will also be required for arrivals from France, Monaco and the Czech Republic, along with some regions of Sweden. 

Belgium and Spain were already on Norway's list of so-called 'red' quarantine-applicable countries.

The quarantine must last for a minimum of ten days. 

Geneva a new hotspot

On Monday, August 3rd, the number of new infections per 100,000 residents in Geneva crossed the 100 mark, reaching 103 per 100,000 for the past 14 days. 

The mark is well above the Swiss government’s ‘high risk’ classification of 60 per 100,000 – meaning that if Geneva was a separate country, residents would be forced to quarantine upon entering the rest of Switzerland. 

On Saturday August 1st, Belgium banned travel to and from Geneva, along with Valais and Vaud, as a result of the rising infections, although Valais and Vaud were removed from the list on Wednesday, August 5th.

READ: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's new quarantine requirement 

Nicola Low, epidemiologist at the University of Bern, told Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes “the infection figures refer to an entire country. On average, they are lower in Switzerland than in the countries on the quarantine list.”

“Geneva is currently a hotspot. If Geneva were a country, the FOPH would have to put it on the quarantine list.”

In one of Europe’s wealthiest regions with excellent health care – not to mention the headquarters of the World Health Organisation – how did it get so bad? 

Editor's note: a previous version of this article erroneously included Poland in the listed of Norway's 'red' countries. This has been corrected.

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ENVIRONMENT

High pollen counts predicted in France due to heatwave

Pollen from highly allergenic ragweed plant is expected to peak earlier this year, as a result of high temperatures.

High pollen counts predicted in France due to heatwave

Ragweed pollen (ambroisie) is expected to spread earlier this year across many parts of France, particularly in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

The National Aerobiological Surveillance Network (NASN) announced on Tuesday that the Lyon region has reached a critical threshold of ragweed pollen in the air to begin causing allergic reactions in sensitive people. The peak for the concentration of pollen in the air is expected for the end of August, which would be in approximately 20 days.

While the risk of allergic reaction is highest in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes currently, particularly in areas like northern Isère, Drôme, Ardèche and southern Rhône, the plant has spread across different regions in France. Up to 15 percent of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes could experience some level of allergic reaction from the plant, as it is highly allergenic, according to Anses.

It can also be found in Burgundy, Franche-Comté, New Aquitaine, Occitanie, as well as the north of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

However, in contrast, ragweed is typically neither found in the Northern and Western parts of the country, nor along the Mediterranean coast.

The high pollen counts are expected approximately one week early this year due to the high temperatures seasonal temperatures.

Ragweed pollen can cause runny noses, stinging eyes and even breathing difficulties in people with an allergy, said Samuel Monnier, engineer at the NASN, to BFMTV.

If you have a ragweed allergy, consider consulting a doctor or allergist to pre-empt or treat the symptoms, recommends Monnier. Residents in regions where the pollen count is high might also consider drying clothes inside rather than outside, in order to keep the pollen from sticking to clothing. 

The plant is considered particularly invasive, and many local authorities have put into place systems to remove it when spotted.  In order to report the presence of ragweed, you can go to the website signalement-ambroisie.fr or download the smartphone application “Signalement-Ambroisie.”

If you’re sensitive to pollen, you can keep up with the interactive pollen count maps across France by going to the website www.pollens.fr/

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