Denmark bans flights from northern Italy as coronavirus infections rise to 156

Denmark will from Tuesday not allow incoming flights from areas considered high-risk due to coronavirus outbreak, the country has announced.

Denmark bans flights from northern Italy as coronavirus infections rise to 156
Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Prime minister Mette Frederiksen confirmed the measure on Tuesday as Denmark’s total number of coronavirus cases continued to rise.

Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed) figures updated at 11am on Tuesday show 156 confirmed coronavirus cases in Denmark with 875 people in quarantine. That represents an increase of nearly 100 over 24 hours.

In addition to the Italian regions, the ban on flight arrivals encompasses all areas designated “red” by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its assessment of coronavirus risk, meaning it advises against all travel (not just non-essential travel) to those areas.

The Italian regions in question are Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Veneto, Marche and Valle d'Aosta.

The ban also includes all of Iran; Ischgl in Austria; Hubei province in China; Daegu city and Gyeongbuk province in South Korea.

The ban, comes into effect later on Tuesday, is initially applied for 14 days but can be extended.

“It is clear that this will have consequences for Danes staying in the affected areas, and airlines will also be impacted,” says Minister of Transport Benny Engelbrecht said at a Tuesday press briefing reported by DR.

“We as a society need to take our responsibilities seriously, and the government believes that it is necessary to introduce a flight ban now,” Engelbrecht said.

In addition, new rules have been applied to entry into Denmark throughout the day from “red” areas.

“Persons entering Denmark from 'red' areas will no longer be able to enter the airport and may not subsequently use public transport,” Frederiksen said at the press briefing.

Authorities are investigating whether the same measures can be applied to direct buses, Ritzau writes.

Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs now advises extra care regarding coronavirus for the whole world in its official travel guidelines.

You can keep up to date with the Danish foreign ministry's travel advice relating to Italy and all other countries via the ministry's website.

The Danish Patient Safety Authority is currently 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.

Health authorities in Denmark and elsewhere 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 an area of infection, if this is the case.

You can read more about symptoms and who to contact in our paywall-free information article.

You can keep up to date with coronavirus situation in Denmark via this article, which also includes official guidelines on the everyday precautions you can take and what to do and who to contact if you have travelled to outbreak areas or are concerned about symptoms. The article will be updated on an ongoing basis.

We are keeping the article paywall-free, which means it will remain open to new or occasional readers. An explanation of this decision can be found at the bottom of the article.


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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.”