Denmark’s Queen appeals to Danes to keep apart in coronavirus address

Denmark's Queen Margrethe II has told her subjects that attending any sort of gathering at this point would be both "inconsiderate" and "reckless" and could lead to the deaths of loved ones.

Denmark's Queen appeals to Danes to keep apart in coronavirus address
The queen made the speech from Fredensborg Castle. Photo: Dr/
Her televised speech from Fredensborg Palace, marks, Danish media reported, one of the first times the much-loved 79-year-old monarch has directly addressed the nation over a specific issue. 
“What we do and how we act in the coming days could be decisive for how the situation develops over the coming weeks,” she said. “Right now we have to show our togetherness by keeping apart.” 
Queen Margrethe warned that “sadly, not everyone is treating the situation with the gravity that it calls for”.
“One sees groups of all ages in close proximity. Some even continue to throw parties and celebrate birthdays. I find this indefensible, it is thoughtless, and more than that, it is reckless.” 
The virus, she said, was “a dangerous guest”, which “spreads like ripples from a stone”.
One person can infect many others and in that chain, people will die. A child might lose their grandmother, a daughter her father,” she said. “Friends will suddenly no longer be there any more. This is the chain we must break.” 
The speech came directly after Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the toughest measures yet to enforce social distancing, banning all gatherings of more than ten people, and ordering cafés, restaurants, and hairdressers to be closed. 
“The advice fro, the authorities is actually quite simple,” she said. “Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Avoid physical contact. Stay at home. 
“It is natural that we are worried, but together we can create new hope in a difficult time. My thoughts go to every one here in the country with the desire for hope and comfort and good courage.”

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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.”