Coronavirus: Norway’s prime minister to hold special conference for children to ask questions

‘The press conference is not open to adult journalists,’ government says

Samuel Osborne
Monday 16 March 2020 10:40 GMT
Erna Solberg, the prime minister of Norway, will host the press conference
Erna Solberg, the prime minister of Norway, will host the press conference (TERJE BENDIKSBY/NTB Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Norway‘s prime minister will hold a separate press conference for children to answer their questions about the coronavirus pandemic.

Erna Solberg will host the conference on Monday alongside the minister of children and families, Kjell Ingolf Ropstadt, and the education minister, Guri Melby.

Children were invited to submit their questions about Covid-19, which has infected over 169,000 people globally, to local media.

“Many children have questions about the coronavirus. This is why the government, in collaboration with NRK Supernytt and Aftenposten Jr, is organising a separate press conference for children,” the government said in a press release.

“The press conference is not open to adult journalists.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised people to support each other and offer “compassion and kindness” to those affected by the virus.

The international agency issued mental health guidance, which included advice to parents encouraging them to help their children express fear or sadness through creative activities, such as playing and drawing.

“Keep children close to their parents and family, if considered safe for the child, and avoid separating children and their caregivers as much as possible,” the document says.

“Discuss Covid-19 with your children in an honest and age-appropriate way. If your children have concerns, addressing those together may ease their anxiety.”

The organisation also published advice specifically on how to help children cope with stress during the outbreak, which advised parents to respond to their children’s reactions in a supportive way.

“Provide facts about what has happened, explain what is going on now and give them clear information about how to reduce their risk of being infected by the disease in words that they can understand depending on their age,” it says.

“This also includes providing information about what could happen in a re-assuring way (e.g. a family member and/or the child may start not feeling well and may have to go to the hospital for some time so doctors can help them feel better).”

It comes as Norway imposed strict measures to combat the spread of the virus, with the country shutting its ports and airports from Monday.

As of Sunday, there were 1,077 coronavirus cases in Norway, as well as two deaths.

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