Norwegian police have fined the country’s PM, Erna Solberg, for breaking Covid-19 social distancing rules imposed by her own government, and organizing a family gathering to celebrate her 60th birthday.
The fine imposed on the prime minister is 20,000 Norwegian crowns ($2,352), the chief of the south-east police district, Ole Saeverud, told a news conference on Friday.
While in most cases, a fine would not actually be enforced, the PM was made an example of as she had been spearheading the tough restrictions herself, the police chief noted.
‘Though the law is the same for all, all are not equal in front of the law’.
“It is therefore correct to issue a fine in order to uphold the general public’s trust in the rules on social restrictions,” Saeverud stated.
The event – said to be a sushi party – was hosted by the PM late in February. The PM held the party with 13 family members at a mountain resort, even though her government had banned gatherings of more than 10 people to combat the spread of Covid-19.
The party was soon exposed by the country’s media, bringing it to the attention of the police. Solberg did not try to deny her involvement, promptly issuing an apology.
“I am sorry that my family and I have broken the corona[virus] regulations – that should never have happened,” Solberg wrote on Facebook shortly afterwards. “We of course should have followed all the recommendations, as I have asked you to do.”
Others involved in the ill-fated event, including the restaurant that hosted the party, as well as the PM’s husband, Sindre Finnes, faced no legal consequences. While they were found guilty of breaking the rules, the blame was pinned solely on the PM.
“Solberg is the country’s leader, and she has been at the forefront of the restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the virus,” the police chief stressed.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Norway has registered only around 101,000 cases of coronavirus, including just under 700 deaths. The country of some 5.3 million has employed tight restrictions in a bid to halt the spread of the disease.