Norwegian prime minister apologises after breaking own Covid-19 rules

Police are launching an investigation into Prime Minister Erna Solberg's birthday celebrations, which breached local and national Covid-19 restrictions.

Norwegian prime minister apologises after breaking own Covid-19 rules

Reports emerged on Thursday that Solberg and her family celebrated her 60th birthday with family in Geilo, a ski resort in the south of the country, in late February. The family gathered two nights in a row.

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A post shared by Erna Solberg (@erna_solberg)

“On the basis of information that has appeared in the press, as well as the Prime Minister’s own statements, the police have decided to initiate an investigation related to a possible violation of infection control regulations,” the South Eastern Police District said in a statement.

Thirteen members of the prime minister’s family and entourage ate a restaurant in Geilo on Friday the February 25th. The national infection control rules at the time stated that no more than 10 people could be gathered in a private event at a restaurant.

The Prime Minister was not present at the meal that evening as she was having an eye check-up in Oslo, according to reports. 

The following night, Saturday February 26th, Solberg was present as 14 people ate sushi in an apartment she had rented.

“I who every single day stand and tell people about infection control should have known the rules better. But the truth is that I did not check the rules thoroughly and did not realise that when a family goes out together and is a party larger than 10, then it is classed as an event.” Solberg told broadcaster NRK.

READ MORE:These are Norways Covid-19 guidelines for the Easter holidays.

The Prime Minister violated section 13 of Norway’s Covid-19 regulations by attending the meal with the group, according to Hans Fredik Marthinussen, a law professor at the University of Bergen. The section stipulates that private gathering for family, friends and acquaintances that take place in rented accommodation or borrowed premises are regulated as events. The maximum indoors limit is 10.

“It is quite shocking that she, as the one responsible for these rules, and who introduces serious measures, is not even aware of these measures that she has introduced,” he told NRK.

Health minister Bent Høie criticised his boss over the matter. “This should not have happened, and it is clear that we who make the rules and talk about the importance of them, must follow the rules and advice.” Høie told VG.

“I’m sorry my family and I have broken the corona regulations; it should never have happened. We should have followed the recommendations that I have asked you to follow,” Solberg has said in an apology posted on Facebook.

“I especially think of those who have had to cancel things they have been looking forward to, a birthday with classmates, a celebration with friends and other important things. I understand those who are angry and disappointed with me. I’ve done wrong and for that I’m sorry,” the post read.

Operations Manager for the police in Buskerud, Øyvind Aas told NRK it’s likely Solberg will receive a fine if she is punished.

Member comments

  1. She should resign. Other prominent people, in other countries, have done so. She has acted selfishly and, as a consequence, is not fit to lead a country out of the pandemic!

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Norwegian teachers to be allowed to intervene physically against students

The Norwegian governemnt wants to implement clearer guidelines on when teachers can use physical intervention to prevent injuries to pupils.

Norwegian teachers to be allowed to intervene physically against students

Minister of Education, Tonje Brenna, wants to give the teachers the right to intervene physically to prevent students from injuring other pupils or causing significant damage.

“Norwegian schools must be a place where children and young people can develop in a safe community. The teachers in the classroom must be confident in what room for action they have when situations arise where students are in danger of harming themselves or others,” Brenna said in a government statement.

However, there will be strict guidelines in place for the use of force, such as taking steps to present physical confrontation as well as the documentation and reporting of when force is used by a teacher.

Teachers will also be required to be as gentle as possible and for the use of force to be as short-lived as possible. Any physical intervention in a situation cannot be punitive, either.

“For example, a teacher can hold pupils to break up a fight, but the grip must not be stronger or last longer than is necessary to prevent injury. Any form of physical force towards children that has the character of punishment is punishable, writes the government,” the government writes in its proposal.

Currently, there are no rules in the Education Act stipulating when a school employee can physically intervene in a situation, which creates uncertainty when a teacher intervenes.

“Clearer rules will not in themselves solve the problems with disruptive behaviour in school. But the rules will be one part of the solution, in that it strengthens the legal certainty of pupils and staff in situations where it is necessary to intervene physically,” Brenna said.

“Intervening physically should be the last resort, and I don’t think any teacher wants to get into such situations. Now schools must work even more systematically with prevention,” She added.

If physical intervention is needed, the headteacher and the child’s parents will be notified – according to the proposal. Should the proposal, which has been sent for consultation, be adopted by parliament, it will enter into law from August 1st 2024.