Norway to crack down on house parties that break coronavirus rules

Police in Norway are to take a strict approach to private gatherings which break rules in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Norway to crack down on house parties that break coronavirus rules
Photo: Darsh Sunil Warrier on Unsplash

Justice minister Monica Mæland said at a press briefing this week that police would strictly enforce rules on private gatherings.

Mæland reiterated previous comments in which she said police would take a stricter approach to both private parties and gatherings in public spaces if they disturbed public order and broke rules in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“A lot of people have made big sacrifices in this situation and we must endure that we have low infection trends and that we have control,” she said while adding that law enforcement must nevertheless not become a ‘corona police’, newspaper VG reported.

Norwegian Directorate of Health guidelines currently state that private gatherings must consist of no more than 20 people, while organised events at public locations may not involve over 200 people. A social distance of one metre to others must be maintained.

The guidelines do not currently have a set expiry date.

400 temporary police jobs created in March are to be retained for the rest of this year, Mæland also confirmed.

“There’s no doubt that the new situation will result in new and stricter expectations of police,” she said, adding that “we must ensure the police have the resources to do their job”.

READ ALSO: Norway to recommend quarantine for arrivals from Germany

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Norwegian police end emergency carrying of arms

The temporary arming of all police in Norway, ordered after an attack in Kongsberg left five dead, ended on Friday morning. 

Police in Norway will no longer be armed after the temporary order was dropped. Pictured is a police van in Oslo.
Police in Norway will no longer be armed after the temporary order was dropped. Pictured is a police van in Oslo. Photo by David Hall on Flickr.

The order for all police in Norway to be armed following an attack in Kongsberg last week was lifted on Friday morning. 

The police said in a statement Friday that, based on the information it had received from police security service PST, there was no longer any basis for maintaining the national armament order. 

“Norwegian police are basically unarmed in daily service, with firearms being stored in police vehicles, and police can be armed in connection with specific missions when needed. In that sense, we are now moving to a normal situation,” Tone Vangen, emergency preparedness director for the police, said in a statement

The police had been armed since last Wednesday following the incident in Kongsberg where Danish citizen Espen Andersen Bråthen killed five with an undisclosed sharp object and shot at police with a bow and arrow.

During police questioning, Bråthen confessed to the killings and to wounding three others. 

Police said earlier this week that the victims were chosen at random. The Danish citizen was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Bråthen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

The 37-year-old had previously announced publicly that he had converted to Islam and police initially reported that there had been fears of radicalisation. 

But police later said that mental illness was to be considered the primary motive for the attack. 

 “As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt said to reporters earlier this week.