King and queen in Corona quarantine

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King Harald and Queen Sonja were both in Corona quarantine Thursday evening, after an employee at the Royal Palace in Oslo was confirmed as being infected with the Corona virus. The royal quarantine comes just weeks after King Harald underwent a heart operation and was on sick leave through last month.

Queen Sonja and King Harald offered Easter greetings and royal encouragement to Norwegians shortly after the Corona crisis began last spring. Now they’re in Corona quarantine themselves, but so far have no symptoms. PHOTO: Det kongelige hoff/Sven Gjeruldsen

The 83-year-old monarch just returned to work from November 1. after the heart operation that was successful. His schedule seems to have been somewhat pared back during the past two weeks but he held last week’s Council of State with the government and has welcomed new ambassadors to Norway.

Now he’ll need to conduct this Friday’s Council of State via telephone from the royal residence on Bygdøy in Oslo. Crown Prince Haakon will take over as regent in meeting the president of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, on Friday and will also take part in the Council of State.

The rest of the monarch’s program over the next week may be altered after the palace employee, who was not identified, tested positive for Covid-19. The palace described King Harald’s quarantine as “self-imposed.” Queen Sonja, also age 83, went into quarantine as well after having what was determined to be “close contact” with the virus-infected employee.

Palace officials noted in a press release Thursday evening that neither the king nor queen have so far exhibited any symptoms of the Corona virus. They’re likely to be under close watch through the weekend.

Fully 14 members of the palace staff are also in quarantine. The press release described anti-infection routines at the palace as “in line with regulations and recommendations from the authorities tied to infection control.” Palace employees reportedly have complied with social distancing, used face masks, “intensified” cleanliness and hand-washing, and have worked from home.

The king’s meetings next week were still listed on the palace’s official program but subject to postponement or cancellation. King Harald was due to have a regular meeting on Monday with the chief of Norway’s Home Guard, and meet with two newly knighted Norwegians: author Edvard Hoem and professor emeritus Brit Salbu. The king also has a regular meeting with Norway’s foreign minister on Thursday in addition to next Friday’s Council of State.

NewsInEnglish.no/Nina Berglund