In a measure aimed at protecting the country’s sick and elderly from exposure to the virus, all healthcare workers in the country who have travelled to outbreak areas within in the last 14 days will now be required to remain at home, the Ministry of Health has announced.
The move is aimed at healthcare sector workers who have direct contact with the public, such as doctors, nurses and social care workers, the ministry said.
“The task now is to give the best possible chance for authorities to do all they can to prevent coronavirus from spreading,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told DR on Monday evening.
Areas encompassed by the measure are the Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto; mainland China; the province of Gyeongbuk and the city of Daegu in South Korea; and all of Iran.
“We are taking (these) new steps to stay ahead of developments. We need to protect the groups in our community which are particularly at risk and vulnerable if they become infected with coronavirus,” Minister for Health Magnus Heunicke said at a press briefing on Monday.
“A few hundred” members of Denmark’s healthcare sector workforce are expected to be affected by the rule.
“We are asking them to stay at home so they do not come into contact with the weak or the elderly. So this is not home quarantine as such,” Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen, DHA) director Søren Brostrøm said at a press briefing.
The staff will be paid while staying home from work under the measure, Frederiksen confirmed to TV2.
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Danish Nurses' Organization (Dansk Sygeplejeråd) chairperson Grete Christensen gave her backing to the move.
“It’s important that those of us who care for others don’t risk possibly spreading infection to weak and sick people,” Christensen said.
Ten cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Denmark at the time of writing, with no fatalities.
Of the four new cases confirmed Monday evening, three recently returned from travel to Italy and one from Iran. None have been in contact with any of the six prior cases.
None of the four new cases are hospitalized. No further information on them has been released.
Danish Patient Safety Authority director Anne-Marie Vangsted said that all four new cases had been prompt to contact health services after they noticed symptoms.
“These are all people who contacted a doctor as soon as they felt symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath and coughing,” Vangsted said.
Danish health authorities are recommending people to initially call their doctors if they are concerned they might have symptoms and have recently travelled to affected areas.
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.
The coronavirus situation in Denmark remains less serious than in other countries, but you can keep up to date with the latest news via this article, which also includes official guidelines on the everyday precautions you can take and what to do if you have travelled to outbreak areas or are concerned about symptoms. The article will be updated on an ongoing basis.
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