By Gwladys Fouche
OSLO (Reuters) – Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told the country’s children on Monday it was OK to feel scared during the “special days” of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Nordic country has invoked emergency powers to close a wide range of public and private institutions, including schools and kindergartens, in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus.
“It has been special days … Many children think it is scary,” Solberg said during a news conference at her office dedicated to answer children’s questions about the pandemic. “It is OK to be scared when so many things happen at the same time.”
“Even if your school has been contaminated, it will go well with nearly everyone. The same with Mummy and Daddy, if they are infected,” she added, flanked by her ministers for education and for family and children.
The trio then answered questions posted via children’s TV program NRK Super and children’s paper Aftenposten Junior, such as “Can I have a birthday party?”, “Can I visit my grandparents after I went to a shopping center?”, “How long does it take to make a vaccine?” or “What can I do to help?”
“By being home you are helping other people not be contaminated and get sick. It is important for those who already have a disease or who are very old,” Solberg said.
Most children are at home and are refraining from meeting friends and relatives, especially elderly ones. Children of key workers, such as nurses and doctors, are still able to go kindergartens and schools.
It is not the first time Norwegian politicians addressed children on national television.
During local elections last September, political leaders including Solberg took part in a special debate on children’s TV.
The country’s national day on May 17 is a celebration of children, with school parades throughout the country.
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Nerijus Adomaitis and Ed Osmond)