– Are we really standing so close to each other? Health director Bjorn Guldvok joked to Talkbladet.
Latest news on Corona situation It was a regular – sometimes daily – feature of Norwegians’ lives throughout much of the epidemic. Today, the “meter’n” and the traffic light model are distant news memories for many.
On Friday, however, Guldvok, FHI director Camilla Stoltenberg and the government gathered again in Marmorhallen at the Ministry of Climate and Environment in Oslo – this time to receive the report of the Corona Panel from Øystein Olsen, the committee’s chairman and former central bank governor. .
– This room marked my life – and the lives of many others – for almost two and a half years. A lot of serious news was reported here during this period. At the same time many interesting things happened here. So it’s special to be back, says Guldvok.
– Be prepared for short-term crises
The director of health did not have time to read the report of the corona committee when Dagbladet met him after Friday’s press conference, but it was presented by the chairman of the committee.
He believes it is “good and complete”.
– I am pleased that this report establishes what was also reported in previous reports of the Corona Commission: the overall picture is that the epidemic was handled well in Norway – with intervention measures in March 2020 it was correct.
Among other things, the Corona Committee recommends that the government “aimed at better enshrining in the Constitution the right to act quickly under the Infection Control Act and the Health Preparedness Act”.
He also says that Kuldwok “happily agrees” with this view.
– We must ensure that our planning has a long-term perspective – we are better prepared for short-term rather than long-term crises – and we must care for children and young people in crisis. Migrant populations and other vulnerable groups.
– So when you lie awake at night and think about what you could have done differently, do you think about the same things the committee points out?
– Yes, that is where I believe there is the greatest need for improvements and changes in our work. But there’s another thing I’m a bit worried about, says Guldwok.
– Don’t know what
The Director of Health said:
– I know that the biggest problem for us in the future is not the coronavirus. But I don’t know what it is. We really need to be prepared for nuclear incidents, war, major chemical accidents, new epidemics – and major ICT incidents in our industry. There are many things that require good preparation.
– Preparing for what we’ve already experienced, isn’t that enough?
– No, that won’t happen. We should definitely use it as a lesson, but the most important thing is not to face Corona in a better way next time – I think we will get there anyway. The important thing is to learn from this and better face the next crisis. And we are working on it.
– If you were free to comply with the committee’s recommendations, which would you consider most important?
– In our view, it is natural to have a structure that allows us to know what roles we play in an emergency situation. Who had the decision-making power in March was the most important issue.
– Absolutely critical
His Second statementIn April last year, the Corona Commission questioned whether it was the Directorate of Health, not the government, that formally introduced the most aggressive measures Norway had seen in peacetime.
Under the Swedish Infection Control Act, there is no doubt that the decision-making authority rests with the Directorate of Health, Kuldvog maintains.
– But the Commission and the Committee have pointed out that it is up to the Government to take that kind of decision. For me, it is absolutely important that I know…
– … Do you have the authority to close Norway or not?
– … if I have the authority – or if I have no authority – to this. This is important. But I would probably say that the most important thing for us is to take better care of vulnerable groups. We have great programs for children and young people, migrant populations and vulnerable people in the health service.
– A lot to work with
Camilla Stoltenberg, director of the Institute of Public Health, insists to Talkblade that she has not had time to read the report.
– In terms of presentation, I identify myself well – in the interpretation and evaluation of reality. So the main impression is that they’ve done a good job, says Stoltenberg.
The Public Health Agency has done mostly the same assessments, he insists.
– It gives us relief that we seem to be learning the same way the nation is learning. We have a lot of work to do going forward, but the main impression is that Norway has handled it well.
When asked about the night of lost sleep and thoughts about what she might have done differently during the pandemic, Stoltenberg replied:
– I don’t lie awake at night thinking about it. But I think a lot about how we can reduce the burden of activities for children and young people.
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