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Coronavirus in Denmark: What's the latest news and how worried should you be?

The Local Denmark
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Coronavirus in Denmark: What's the latest news and how worried should you be?
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Here's the latest numbers, news, information and advice about coronavirus in Denmark. (Paywall Free)


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What's the latest news on coronavirus in Denmark?

On Tuesday morning, Copenhagen Airport said it was laying off more than half of its staff, and had already turned two of its three runways into parking for out-of-use passenger jets. 

On Monday morning, Germany closed its border to Denmark for ten days, with only German citizens, cross border commuters, and delivery drivers allowed through. 

On Sunday night, Denmark reported that an elderly person had died at Herlev Hospital in Copenhagen in the third death in the country attributed to coronavirus. 

Denmark effectively closed its borders at midday on Saturday, in a move aimed at stemming the fight of the coronavirus. The borders will remain closed until April 13th, the government has said.

The move came after the government announced the measure on Friday evening, with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen saying that although it would be difficult, she considered it necessary. (a list of those who will still be able to cross the border is below). 

On Thursday night, the Danish parliament, or Folketing, rushed through an emergency coronavirus law that empowers health authorities, with the backing of the police, to compel citizens to undergo testing, quarantine and treatment for coronavirus infection -- including undergoing vaccination, should a vaccine be developed.

The new law followed a four-prong financial support package announced earlier in the day by Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen, aimed at preventing the coronovirus pandemic triggering a major economic crisis. 

The package released banks' countercyclical capital buffer, freeing up some 200bn Danish kroner ($30bn) for potential bank lending, and issued guarantees on loans to businesses worth some 7.5bn Danish kroner. 

The move came after Denmark's Prime Minister announced that the country would close all kindergartens, schools and universities for two weeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus virus. (see list of the full measures further down).

What are the numbers? 

The Danish Health Authority (Sundstyrelesen) reported 62 new cases of infection at 8am on Tuesday morning, taking the total number known to be infected in Denmark to 960. There have been four deaths attributed to the virus, and 6,682 people tested. 
According to the Worldometers website the country ranks 7th worldwide in the number of confirmed infections per capita, with 166 cases per million inhabitants.  
What are the latest steps from Danish authorities?
Danish public broadcaster DR on Friday provided a list of which categories of people will still be allowed to cross the border. 
They include: 
  • Danish citizens 
  • Those working or living in Denmark
  • Those delivering good to Denmark
  • Those collecting goods from Denmark 
  • Those with visitation rights to children in Denmark
  • Those visiting extremely sick family members in Denmark 
  • Other reasons for visiting will be assessed on a case by case business
  • Ordinary visits to family members will not be a sufficient reason to enter Denmark
Here is a list of the four measures announced at Thursday's press conference. 
  • The release of the so-called 'countercyclical capital buffer' banks have been required to keep on their books since the 2007 financial crisis. This will provide them an extra 200bn Danish kroner in liquidity. 
  • Two new loan guarantee schemes, one for large companies and one for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 
  • Employers from now on be completely reimbursed by the government from the first day that an employee becomes ill or enters quarantine due to coronavirus. 
  • Employment legislation is being relaxed to allow companies to reduce employees hours temporarily, with the employees incomes then supplemented by unemployment benefit. The Ministry of Employment hopes that this will prevent employees from being laid off.
Here is a list of the main measures announced at Wednesday's press conference. 
  • All non-essential public sector employees will be sent home from Friday, 13 March. If possible, they should work from home. If this is not possible, they will given paid leave. 
  • Employees in the health sector, the elderly care sector and the police must, however, stay at their posts.  
  • All public schools and daycare services will be closed from Monday, March 16 for a fortnight. All those who are able are encouraged to keep children home from Thursday. 
  • All students in higher education are expected to return home as early as Thursday and no later than Friday, March 13, and remain home for two weeks. 
  • Companies are encouraged to ensure that as many people as possible work from home or take leave. Physical meetings should only be held if absolutely necessary. 
  • All indoor cultural institutions, libraries and leisure facilities will close from Friday 13 March and remain closed for two weeks. At the same time, the government encourages churches, mosques and other religious institutions and associations to stay closed. 
  • All gatherings involving more than 100 people indoors will soon be banned. 
  • Bars and discos are encouraged to stay closed. 
What are the travel restrictions? 

On Friday night, the government's foreign minister said it was now advising against all travel abroad. 

Where can I go for advice? 

You can keep up to date with the Danish foreign ministry's travel advice via the ministry's website.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Who is most at risk?

What is coronavirus?

It's a respiratory illness which belongs to the same family as the common cold.

The outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan began at a fish market in late December.

According to the World Health Organisation, more than 80 percent of patients infected with the virus have mild symptoms and recover, while 14 percent develop severe diseases such as pneumonia. 

Around five percent of cases are considered critical, while only around 3 percent prove fatal. The elderly and people with conditions that weaken their immune system are most likely to develop severe symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

The initial symptoms are not dissimilar to the common flu, as the virus belongs to the same family.

The symptoms include a cough, headache, fatigue, fever, aching and difficulty breathing.

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is primarily spread through airborne contact or contact with contaminated objects.

Its incubation period is two to 14 days, with an average of seven days.

How can I protect myself?

You can take the same precautions in Denmark that you would anywhere else:

  • Use paper tissues in front of your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Throw away the tissue and wash your hands afterwards.
  • If you do not have a tissue to hand, sneeze or cough into your elbow, rather than into your hand.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly, particularly when you have been out amongst other people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.
  • Cleaning your hands with an alcohol-based disinfectant is a good alternative if you are not immediately close to soap and running water.
  • Clean off surfaces with alcohol- or chlorine-based disinfectants.

Do not take any antibiotics or antiviral medication unless it's been prescribed to you by a doctor.

You don't need to worry about handling anything made or shipped from China, nor about catching coronavirus from (or giving it to) a pet.

You can find the latest information about the coronavirus in Denmark from the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) your country's embassy, or the WHO.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

You should be examined if you have signs of respiratory illness, such as cough, shortness of breath and fever, and have either been in areas of infection or if you have symptoms and have had contact with a person suspected of or having detected COVID-19.

Persons without signs of respiratory disease, including cough, shortness of breath and fever, should not be examined for COVID-19 infection.

If you have been in areas of infection, be vigilant for of any signs of respiratory disease for 14 days after returning home.

If you think you have the virus, do not go to hospital or your doctor's surgery.

Health authorities are worried about potentially infected people turning up at hospitals and passing on the virus.

Therefore, you should always start by contacting your doctor by telephone. Remember to state that you have been in the area of infection, if this is the case.

Outside normal opening hours, you can call an on-call doctor via the relevant telephone number in the region of Denmark where you live or are staying.

These numbers are:

  • North Jutland: 97660250
  • Central Jutland: 70113131
  • South Denmark: 70110707
  • Zealand: 70150700
  • Copenhagen and Capital City Region: 1813

A map of the regions can be seen here.

The Danish Patient Safety Authority is offering a number of helplines for people affected by the coronavirus.

People in home quarantine can contact the authority with questions of a practical nature between 9am and 10pm. The relevant telephone numbers are 72 22 74 28 (Copenhagen and Zealand regions); 70 20 21 77 (Central and North Jutland regions); and 29 31 98 63 (South Denmark region).

A hotline for both healthcare workers and the general public who have questions about coronavirus has also been set up. The number for this is 70 20 02 33.

READ ALSO: Who to call and what to say when contacting health authorities in Denmark

According to the WHO, around 80 percent of people who contract the new coronavirus recover without needing special treatment.

Around one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Only around three percent of cases are fatal. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.


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