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World News

'Do we have enough soap?' - children ask Norway PM about virus

OSLO (Reuters) - Prime Minister Erna Solberg told Norwegian children on Thursday she was confident a vaccine against the novel coronavirus will be found and that the disease could become one of the many diseases kids are vaccinated against.

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Oslo, Norway September 3, 2020. Berit Roald/NTB Scanpix/via REUTERS

She spoke at her third news conference held specially for children, with adults not allowed to ask questions, since the crisis began. At the first such briefing on March 16, Solberg told children it was “OK” to feel scared about the pandemic.

“I think we’ll be able to find a vaccine and that means that corona will continue to exist but because we will be vaccinated we will not become ill or not so ill from it,” Solberg said, adding that, when she was little, she was sick with measles.

“That is a disease that almost all children in Norway are vaccinated against now, but that was a very dangerous disease when I was little ... Now it (the coronavirus) will be like with the measles or rubella.”

Other questions asked by children and sent in advance via children’s TV programme Supernytt included: “Do we have enough soap?”, “Does Norway have any money left after the pandemic?” and “Could we have Antibac that smells nice?”

“It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if it smelled like flowers,” said Solberg.

“But the most important is that it works ... And sometimes you find Antibac that smell better than others.”

Norway would have enough supplies of soap to cope with the pandemic, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, the Minister for Children and Family, told the same news conference.

Schools in Norway reopened from April 27 and resumed as normal after the summer holidays on Aug. 17. Pupils do not need to wear face masks but they must try to keep socially distant during breaks.

Norway has reported a total of 10,871 COVID-19 infections and 264 deaths to date.

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Mike Collett-White

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