Norway PM Tackles Kids' COVID-19 Questions & Concerns: "It's OK To Be Scared"
In an attempt to reassure the country's youth as the world battles a global public health pandemic, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg answered kids' coronavirus questions during a children-only press conference Monday. With adult reporters effectively barred from the briefing, questions were submitted by concerned children residing across Norway and ranged from inquiries into vaccines and questions about the safety of having parties.
Norway had more than 1,440 confirmed coronavirus cases as of early Tuesday afternoon, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. In an effort to limit the spread of the virus, Norway's government has invoked emergency powers to temporarily shutter a number of public and private institutions, including schools and kindergartens, Reuters reported.
While the restrictions and closures put in place have certainly had a noticeable impact on Norwegian's daily life, Solberg sought to ease fear and confusion among children who have found their routine turned upside down. "It has been special days... Many children think it is scary," Solberg said while opening Monday's press conference, according to U.S. News & World Report. "It is OK to be scared when so many things happen at the same time." Solberg went on to reassure children that even if people at their school have been contaminated with the virus, things would "go well with nearly everyone."
"The same with Mummy and Daddy, if they are infected," the news outlet reported she said.
The prime minister then went on to answer questions such as "How long does it take to make a vaccine?" and "Can I visit my grandparents after I went to a shopping center?"
When asked about birthday parties during coronavirus, Solberg encouraged kids to telephone with best wishes for a happy birthday. "If somebody has a birthday in the class, everybody should ring them and sing happy birthday," she said, as SBS News reported.
In response to a question about how to help, the prime minister stressed that staying home, practicing social distancing, and avoiding social activities were key ways to limit the virus' spread. "By being home, you are helping other people not be contaminated and get sick," she said, according to SBS News. "It is important for those who already have a disease or who are very old."
Solberg is not the first government leader to address children's concerns during the coronavirus pandemic. According to The Financial Times, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also held a short press conference to address questions from kids. While U.S. President Donald Trump hasn't moved to address children's concerns or questions, many experts have shared their advice for parents looking to explain coronavirus to their kids.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.