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Police in Norway have penalized the prime minister for breaking coronavirus restrictions when she organized and attended two separate gatherings for her birthday in February.

The dinners that included friends and family were held in the ski resort town of Geilo and violated a national ban on gatherings of more than 10 people from different households, police said.

As a result, authorities decided to fine Erna Solberg 20,000 Norwegian crowns ($2,352) for the violations.

Normally such acts would not result in punishment, police chief Ole Saeverud told a news conference Friday. But Solberg’s position as prime minister and the leading role she played in crafting the government’s restrictions meant that the penalty was appropriate, he said.

“Although the law is the same for everyone, not everyone is the same,” Saeverud said, adding that the fine would help “maintain the public’s confidence” in the restrictions.

The allegations were first revealed by public broadcaster NRK last month. Solberg is accused of organizing two dinners in late February as part of the celebrations for her 60th birthday.

One took place at the Hallingstuene restaurant on Feb. 26, when Solberg booked a table for 13 people, police said. At the last minute, Solberg was unable to attend.

The next night, however, she hosted a gathering of 14 people at an apartment. Police did not say whether anyone contracted the virus after attending the dinners.

Norway, with a population of just 5.3 million, has recorded more than 102,000 coronavirus cases and 685 deaths. At the time of the gatherings, cases were beginning to trend upward following weeks of decline.



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