COVID-19 has entered a “new phase” in Greenland, government says

A March 2021 file photo of a Covid-19 test center in the center of Nuuk, Greenland. The government says the number of infections across Greenland calls for a new approach to testing. (Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

With COVID-19 spreading throughout Greenland, the government is changing its testing strategy and urging the population to recognize the pandemic is in a “new phase.” 

“There’s now a widespread and persistent spread of infection that’s putting increasing pressure on the health care system, which means the pandemic has entered a new phase,” the government said in a news release on Wednesday.

“And it’s crucial to make the best use of our resources.”

The most recent COVID-19 data released by health authorities on January 20 for Greenland’s five municipalities. (Government of Greenland)

Among the changes instituted by health authorities, is reserving PCR testing for high risk patients, and asking everyone else to self-isolate at home if they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

“We must use the important and indispensable resources we have in the best possible way,” the government said.   “We must do this to ensure that other essential public health functions can be maintained.” 

‘Everything has changed and we are also forced to change’

Health authorities have been overwhelmed with questions about testing. The government said those resources were well deployed when it looked like the infection could still be contained, but that as cases balloon across Greenland, those ressources need to be redeployed to treat sick or high risk individuals.

“The Government acknowledges that everything has changed and we are also forced to change,” it said. 

“Most of the resources used to inoculate, analyze and contact people with test results are the same resources that can otherwise be used to treat patients.”

The government also reemphasized the importance of vaccination.

“Vaccinations are the best weapon against serious illness, hospitalization and death. Therefore, it’s important that we, as a society and as individuals, say yes to the vaccinations.”

As of Thursday, 68 per cent of Greenland’s population of 56,588 had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccination statistics for Greenland’s five municipalities as of January 20, 2022. (Government of Greenland)

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: All communities in Nunavik, Quebec moved to COVID-19 red alert level, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: Greenland gov grants mayor’s request for alcohol ban amidst rising COVID-19 cases, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Swedish government announces new restrictions following sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, Radio Sweden

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