King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway have been placed into quarantine due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in Norway. The news came only hours it was revealed that the royal family is cancelling all its events until Easter. The news is confirmed by NRK the Norwegian state television channel this evening.
NRK reports that neither the king or the queen are ill, but they are affected by new stringent measures that the government has today introduced to curb the infection.
According to emergency-measures announced by the Norwegian government on Thursday, everyone returning from travels outside the Nordic countries must self-isolate in their homes, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. The measure also has a retroactive effect from February 27, and will thus affect a large proportion of Norway’s population. Among them the King and Queen of Norway who recently returned to the country after their state visit to Jordan.
Norway’s health minister and foreign minister are also currently in quarantine because they have recently returned to Norway from travels abroad.
Prior to the Jordan visit, there was great speculation about whether the visit would be affected by the coronavirus. However, the visit went on, and Communication Director Guri Varpe at the Royal Court said they were following the situation closely. She said: “The state visit will be completed. We follow the situation in dialogue with the host country authorities.”
The situation in Norway is now considered to be serious. All schools and kindergartens will be closed. People are encouraged to stay home and most public gatherings have been cancelled. The health authorities are in emergency preparedness and people are encouraged to keep one meter distance between themselves and others. Norwegians are asked to prepare for a crisis that is described as the most devastating since World War II.
As of 12 March, among nations with at least one million citizens, Norway has the world’s third highest per capita rate of positive coronavirus cases at 117.9 cases per million people. The number of confirmed cases now stands at 632.