A proposal allowing the government to impose stay-at-home orders was sent to the Norwegian parliament for consultation by the Ministry of Justice at the start of January. The proposal would authorise the government to forbid people from spending time in public places in order to avoid transmission of the Covid-19 virus.
The government announced Wednesday, however, that it will not move forward with the law, citing that there is no necessity for implementing such measures.
“This is a ‘tool’ that we do not have, and that we have never needed. This is still the case, and we hope the situation will persist,” said Minister of Justice Monica Mæland in a statement.
Over 1,400 inputs have been received during the consultation process. Mæland says these are still being reviewed.
“For nearly a year the population in Norway have faithfully adhered to advice, recommendations and restrictions,” she said.
“Several of the inputs we have received stress that this is largely based on trust and that this has itself contributed to reducing the rate of transmission.”
The government had before Christmas requested the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) assess the need for stay-at-home orders.
In response, NIPH strongly opposed confining people to their homes, which they argued may be a violation of basic human rights.
“If people maintain a good level of personal hygiene, few infected people walk about and contact frequency between people is reduced (because other measures have been implemented), there is not much added benefit to stay at home orders,” NIPH stated in the letter, according to public broadcaster NRK.
“We assess the marginal benefits of a home confinement, even in its strictest form, to be small,” NIPH concludes.
The institute also label stay-at-home orders an “unnecessarily harsh instrument.”