Defense minister in quarantine

Bookmark and Share

UPDATED: Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen has been among those forced to stay home these days. His ministry confirmed on Tuesday that he’s had to cancel meetings because he may have been exposed to the Corona virus, and then exposed others in the government.

Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen, shown here outside the Royal Palace, may have been exposed to the Corona virus. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no/Morten Møst

“It’s now an unclear situation,” the ministry reported on its website. “Until more information is available, the minister and the defense ministry will take precautions in order to hinder any further spread of the virus.”

The defense minister was reported “to be working from home” until the results of testing among people he met last week are received. Bakke-Jensen told newssite ifinnmark.no that he shook hands with several people while visiting Bergen last week, including someone who’d recently been in Italy.

“When I found out that one of them had developed symptoms and had to be tested for Corona, I took precautions,” Bakke-Jensen said. He added that he’s had no symptoms of the virus himself.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg confirmed Tuesday evening that it now may be necessary to test other members of her government, since he took part in a ministerial conference on Monday. Efforts were underway to chart what kind of contact he had with others.

“The defense minister will remain in retreat until the results of testing (the person he met in Bergen) are clear,” Solberg said.

It thus remains unclear whether Bakke-Jensen will be able to participate in the government budget conference scheduled for next week in Hurdal. On Tuesday he had been scheduled to lecture at the University of Oslo, about the government’s “long term work” to further develop the defense sector.

“We have improved the foundation, with the right competence at the right place,” Bakke-Jensen stated in a press release. “Therefore I invited myself to the University of Oslo to meet students.” Instead there will be no lecturing or other appearances in public until he’s in the clear himself.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund