Municipalities are able to force isolate infected persons

HelsedirektoratetThe Norwegian Directorate of Health.Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix
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The Norwegian Directorate of Health has approved close to 80 municipalities for compulsory isolation for patients of dementia and the mentally handicapped who have been infected by COVID-19. Among other things, cabins can be used for doing so.

“The approval is valid until the new year and includes around 280 temporary isolation places”, Bergens Tidende writes.

A review of all applications and approvals by the newspaper shows that everything from ordinary nursing homes, to cabins, hotels, and closed nursing homes have been approved.

Cabins

Voss municipality has received approval for a closed nursing home, Horten municipality has received approval for a remote cabin, and Færder municipality has received approval for two cabins in Tjøme.

Several municipalities have been approved for the establishment of isolation wards at unused residential and service centers and nursing homes, and in Vadsø a field hospital has been approved at the Vadsø Fjord Hotel.

Union leader Jens Petter Gitlesen in the Norwegian Association for the Mentally Handicapped reacts strongly.

“All possibilities must be tried before using coercion. The important thing is that problems are prevented. Then the directorate must ensure that this does not become an easy way out, i.e. an alternative to prevention. In the present scenario, the process starts with facilitating coercion”, he says.

Worried

The Norwegian Directorate of Health emphasizes that the approval does not in itself provide a basis for the implementation of coercion. Decisions must be made in the usual way by the municipal doctor and the infection control committee in each individual case in case of need for forced isolation.

Equality and discrimination officer, Hanne Bjurstrøm, has reacted not least because the Norwegian Directorate of Health approved the use of cabins. In an email to the newspaper, the officer writes, among other things, that she is “concerned about whether there is a need to approve cabins for compulsory isolation of this group”  

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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