Coronavirus: Danish ministry advises caution over travel to China

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ citizens’ service (Borgerservice) section has advised people from Denmark to exercise caution if travelling anywhere in China.

Coronavirus: Danish ministry advises caution over travel to China
A girl wearing a protective face mask in Beijing on January 27th. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

Updated travel advice for China on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website displays the new advisory.

The ministry cites “comprehensive efforts by the Chinese authorities, including travel restrictions, in several provinces to curb the outbreak of pneumonia due to the new coronavirus.”

All non-essential trips to the Hubei province should also be avoided, according to the advice.

The virus was first discovered in the city of Wuhan in the central Chinese province in late December.

It has so far claimed the lives of at least 80 people and over 2,700 have been infected.

Travellers to China are advised by the Danish ministry to keep informed about the situation via local media.

In addition, the Danish Board of Health (Sundhedsstyrelsen) advice to travellers can be checked on the health board's website.

The ministry department said on Monday it was working to get 13 Danes in Hubei province out of the area, but had not yet resolved the situation.

The authority cannot currently say how many Danes are in the area.

“Danes in the area are more or less locked in, but they are okay given the circumstances,” Erik Brøgger Rasmussen, director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Citizens’ Service, said on Monday afternoon.

In addition to getting Danish nationals out of the area, authorities must decide how manage those who are evacuated, including deciding whether to implement a quarantine period.

“We are conducting a complicated operation and many things must fall into place,” Rasmussen said.

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IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.”