Norway’s King Harald tests positive for Covid-19

Norway's King Harald has tested positive for coronavirus and has "mild symptoms", the Royal House of Norway announced Tuesday.

King Harald has tested positive for Covid-19.
The palace announced Tuesday that King Harald had tested positive for Covid. Pictured is a file photo of King Harald of Norway (R), Queen Sonja (C), Crown Prince Haakon (L) attending the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony on December 10, 2021 at the City Hall in Oslo. Photo by Odd Andersen / AFP

“His Majesty the King has tested positive for coronavirus,” The Royal House of Norway said in a statement on its website.

“The king has mild symptoms and will be on sick leave for the next few days,” the statement added. Crown Prince Haakon will take over the king’s royal duties until further notice.

King Harald attended last weekend’s Biathlon World Cup event at Holmenkollen, Oslo. The king turned 85 in February.

The king, and his wife, have both received three vaccines against Covid-19, public broadcaster NRK reports

Harald, a former Olympic yachtsman who has been on the throne for over 30 years, has refused to abdicate despite several years of ill-health, including an operation for bladder cancer in 2003.

Harald is the last of the Nordic royal heads of state to catch coronavirus. In early January, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf, 75, and Queen Silvia, 78, both tested positive, followed by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, 81 in February.

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VERDICT: How well did Norway handle the Covid-19 pandemic?

Norway’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic was given an overall positive scorecard in an official commission report published on Tuesday.

VERDICT: How well did Norway handle the Covid-19 pandemic?

The Corona Commission, appointed to scrutinise the response of authorities and health services, on Tuesday published its final report on the country’s management of the pandemic.

The commission concluded that Norway’s response to the pandemic was generally good. The report notes that the Scandinavian country has one of the lowest Covid-19 death rates in Europe and limited the impact of the virus on economic activity.

Several individuals made far greater contributions than could have been expected, it also said.

“In the health service, state administration, municipalities and at several companies, an impressive flexibility and ability to adapt was demonstrated,” the report states.

Some criticism is included in the report. Authorities were not adequately prepared to deal with a pandemic of the magnitude Covid-19 proved to be.

The pandemic caused severe strain on a number of ICU wards at times and doctors’ services in local municipalities were poorly equipped, the report said.

“ICU preparedness at hospitals was not good enough,” the report states.

The commission meanwhile pointed out the vaccination programme as a successful element of the response but said the government should have been quicker to take the step of distributing more vaccines to areas with higher Covid-19 prevalence.

A broad range of areas are covered by the report, including its consequences for children and young people, which were found to be excessive.

Authorities failed to do enough to protect children from some of the effects of restrictions, despite this being a government objective.

“To put it a little simply, we can say that children and young people are worse affected by restrictions than by infections and that there is a difference between what you miss out on over a year when you are 16 compared to when you are 46,” the report states.