IN PICS: Denmark’s schools and kindergartens reopen

Children in Denmark returned to school and kindergartens on Wednesday, in a first for a European country. Here's how it looked.

IN PICS: Denmark's schools and kindergartens reopen
A child at Stengård Skole stands on a painted line marking a 2m distance. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

Pupils and their parents arriving at schools, such as Stengård Skole below in Gladsaxe outside Copenhagen, were given staggered times to drop off their children to avoid too many people arriving at the same time. 

Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

They then had to queue to enter the school building alongside specially painted lines, each spaced two metres apart.

Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix


Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

At kindergartens such as the VUI kindergarten in Aalborg, parents had to keep their distance from kindergarten staff while dropping off their children. 

Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Parents then took their children to the bathroom where they had to thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water. 

Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

In most schools, classrooms had been rearranged so that the desks had a safe distance between them, such as here at Korshøjskolen in Randers. 

Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Kindergartens have doubled the amount of space required for each child to 4m2, meaning some parents were informed by letter that there was not sufficient space for their child.

Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Schools had also drafted new sets of rules for children designed to minimise the spread of coronavirus. This poster at Lykkebo Skole in Valby outside Copenhagen, tells children to wash their hands every two hours for at least a minute, to play and study within fixed groups, and to keep two metres distance from one another. 

Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

For children at Lykkebo Skole in Valby the reopening was even more exciting, as Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen dropped in to watch the proceedings. 

Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

This student at Korshøjskolen in Randers is washing her hands between lessons. 

Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Special sports and other activities had been designed to minimise the risk of spreading the infection, such as here at Korshøjskolen in Randers. 

Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix


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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.”