Author: Kristin B. Sandvik

Does Infection Trump Everything?

On 7 April, prime minister Erna Solberg presented the government’s plan for reopening society. The plan provides predictability and clarity about prioritization, including the prioritization of children and young people. This is welcome, but the plan also reveals the problematic aspects of Norway’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Norwegian Quarantine Hotels: Infection Control or Penal Measure?

Quarantine hotels and Easter trips According to the Norwegian government, quarantine hotels are an infection-control measure. In this blog post we contest this view, and argue that the rules are penal in character. “We” are all Norwegian: four medical doctors, one psychologist, and three jurists. The rules distinguish between “necessary” and “unnecessary” travel, but the… Read more »

Why digital vaccine passports are a bad idea: the Norwegian perspective

Expanding the use of Covid-19 digital vaccine passports to domestic purposes would in practice represent a return to the checkpoint permit (in Norwegian ‘passerseddel’, in German “Passierschein”), a form of internal passport. This type of document is associated with authoritarian regimes and with war and conflict, last used in Norway during the Second World War.

COVID-19: Towards a Digital Fragmentation of the Right to Education?

COVID-19 lockdowns have had momentous impact on children’s lives worldwide and in particular on the right to education. Save the Children reports that more than 1.6 billion learners globally have faced school closures due to the pandemic, resulting in at least 10 million children not returning to school.[1] Among key international stakeholders, there appears to be a consensus… Read more »

COVID-19 and the Law: Framing Healthcare Worker Risks as Women’s Rights Violations

Today, public health is ‘delivered by women and led by men’, with a glaring absence of women and nurses at the decision making table.[1] Globally, though women only make up 25% of those in healthcare leadership they make up the majority of healthcare workers (70%) and nurses (90%).[2]  This exclusion skews the agendas on health so the… Read more »

The Coldest Cold Chain: Chilling Effects of Covid-19 Vaccines

After various stretches of lockdowns and the related dire political, social, and economic consequences, the world has welcomed the news that several companies – including Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer – are approaching an effective vaccine for Covid-19. Approximately 200 more are in the pipeline, of which 48 in clinical and 164 in pre-clinical stages of development. While there is thus hope on the horizon,… Read more »

Chronicling Smittestopp: Game on. Game over. Blame games.

April 16, 2020, the Norwegian COVID-19 tracking app Smittestopp was launched to great fanfare. The app was presented as crucial to the effort of saving lives and curbing infection rates. September 28 it was finally over, although the post-mortem dissection of the app has been unusually acrimonious for the Norwegian context. Smittestopp 1.0 will be replaced… Read more »

A Nobel for the WFP: A non-political Peace Prize for humanitarian multilateralism?

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the World Food Program for its “efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”. The announcement emphasizes the… Read more »

TikTok and the War on Data: Great Power Rivalry and Digital Body Counts

In 1971, the US declared a War on Drugs. In 2001, it began a still ongoing War on Terror. In 2020, the country has initiated a global War on Data to ‘combat’ the malicious collection of US citizens’ personal data. It is the first time that America is going to war for its population’s digital… Read more »