Høringssvar fra Johannes Lohse

Dato: 26.11.2020

Jeg har bodd i Norge i snart fem år og og snakker norsk nesten flyttendes. Det er likavel mye enklere å skrive den her teksten på engelsk - jeg håper at den kan uansett inkluderes vurderingen. Tusen takk.

If the decisions by the government are to be supported by the people, the decisions regarding a pandemic have to be based on scientific evidence and the best scientific knowledge available. Obviously, and as stated publicly on television, this is not the case for the current rules. Such rules in turn completely undermine the trust of many people in the government and their ability to handle the situation in an appropriate manner, which will in the long run work against the prevention of infections.

Regarding the quarantine hotels, this means the following:

When there is the requirement for a quarantine hotel, then everyone who has to be in quarantine must stay there. No exceptions based on registered address in Norway, nationality, ownership of property, being a student, or any other criteria are acceptable.

If any exceptions are given, then everyone must be given the possibility to document that they have a suitable place to quarantine.

If nonetheless the quarantine hotels are to be continued, three major points need to improve significantly:

1) general information flow

2) hygiene and infection prevention at the hotels

3) the overall treatment of people at the hotels (based on first-hand experience)

Ad 1)

The availability of information as it is today is close to non-existent. FHI, municipalities, and government representatives refer to each other and their websites. For many people who have a loved one visiting, the websites do no provide the needed answers. This is not acceptable. It must be clear to people in Norway and abroad, who they can contact with questions.

Ad 2)

There are multiple examples of covid outbreaks at quarantine hotels in different countries. It must be clearly documented and explained, what Norway is doing differently, in order to avoid such outbreaks. There must also be clear information as to what will happen to individuals, if they get infected with covid at the hotel:

- Will government take responsibility?

- Will the government pay for treatment?

- Will the government pay for lost work days, if people from abroad do not have sick leave?

Unless answers to such question have been clearly worked out, the covid hotels are an unacceptable gamble that “nothing will happen”. Based on other countries’ experience, this is completely irresponsible, and it is only a matter of time until there will be an outbreak at a hotel.

In particular, given that:

- Guards are not being tested for covid.

- Guards are supposed to wear masks, but do not always do so. If needed, I have multiple first-hand photographs available to prove this. A simple “we will follow up on this” by the government is not good enough.

Ad 3)

- Guards are yelling in Norwegian at people who do not speak Norwegian.

- Guards and hotel staff are still (26 November) holding on to people’s passports, claiming that they “have to do that”. Even on request, passports are not returned.

- Some of the designated contact persons for the hotel “guests” do not speak English.

At some point in the future, the pandemic will be over. With the way that people are currently treated in the quarantine hotels, I am afraid Norway will not be known as country of open and friendly people anymore. Even though this may seem of minor importance during the pandemic, the lack of humanity and support towards the people who are forced to stay at the hotels is shocking and a disgrace for this country.