Danish foreign ministry advises against non-essential travel to northern Italy

Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has updated its official travel advice for citizens in response to the active outbreak of coronavirus in a number of regions of northern Italy.

Danish foreign ministry advises against non-essential travel to northern Italy
Copenhagen Airport. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

The specific regions to which the ministry advises against all non-essential travel are Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto.

The decision is a precautionary measure based on the large increase in coronavirus cases in the four regions.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What's the latest on coronavirus in Italy and how concerned should you be? (paywall free)

“If you have planned a trip to (Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont or Veneto), you should consider whether it is necessary to travel now,” the updated ministry advice states.

“If you are already staying in the aforementioned regions, you should be extra sure to follow Danish Health Authority advice to reduce the risk of being infected,” the advice continues.

The Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen, DHA) advice as published on the authority’s website is as follows:

  • Good hand hygiene, primarily hand washing, optionally hand disinfection if the hands are clean and dry
  • Avoid contact with people with symptoms of cold and/or respiratory infection
  • Cough or sneeze in disposable handkerchief, alternatively (into) the elbow bend

That reflects World Health Organization guidelines:

You can also view a graphic of the Danish advice here or check the DHA website for more information in Danish or English.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus in Denmark: What's the latest news and how concerned should you be? (paywall free)

The foreign ministry advises “extra caution” in the rest of Italy but does not advise against non-essential travel to regions other than the four named above.

If you have travelled to one of the specified regions, you should be vigilant for coronavirus symptoms for 14 days after returning. The symptoms include a cough, headache, fatigue, fever, aching and difficulty breathing.

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.

You can read more about how to protect yourself and others, look out for symptoms and contact Danish healthcare in our paywall-free article, which will be updated on an ongoing basis.

More than 2,000 people have tested for the virus in Italy as of Monday March 2nd after the number of cases surged over the weekend and on Monday.

There have been 52 deaths connected to the coronavirus in Italy at the time of writing, after Italian health authorities reported another 18 fatalities in just 24 hours on Monday.

A total of 149 people are confirmed to have recovered, including 66 people given the all-clear on Monday.

Most cases are still concentrated in the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna but almost all of Italy's regions now reported cases of the virus.

These numbers are changing constantly and you can view the latest figures here.

Denmark on Monday placed 122 people in quarantine at their homes in response to the country’s four confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.

Four people have so far tested positive for coronavirus in Denmark. Two of these had recently returned from trips to northern Italy. All four are not considered to be seriously ill.

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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.”