Small businesses such as hair salons, massage and tattoo parlours, dentists and driving schools reopened in Denmark
on Monday after a five-week closure, as the country gradually eases restrictions aimed at curbing the new coronavirus.
Published: 20 April 2020 15:02 CEST
Janni Roest, the owner of Fair Tattoo in Copenhagen getting back to work on Monday: Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix
“I had an appointment weeks and weeks ago and I've been waiting to come. As soon as I saw there was an opening, I made a reservation,” Merete Soendergaard, an IT consultant who was among the first through the doors at a hair salon in Copenhagen on Monday morning, told AFP.
The owner of the salon, Anne-Sophie Skjodt Villumsen, said she was happy to be able to reopen her business, noting that she was following the detailed health and safety guidelines put in place.
Clients have to disinfect their hands at the entrance, and must be given a single-use poncho to wear during their appointment. Materials and surfaces have to be disinfected between clients as well.
Denmark began lifting its restrictions on April 15, when it started reopening preschools and primary schools for children up to age 11.
Danes are, however, still urged to practice social distancing by keeping two metres (six feet) apart, gatherings of more than 10 people are banned, and cafes, restaurants, shopping centres and gyms will remain closed until May 10, as will middle and secondary schools.
At driving schools, instructors resumed work on Monday, though some expressed concerns about the “possible risk of infection” in cars, the head of the driving instructors' federation, Bent Grue, told AFP.
As of Monday, Denmark had 7,711 reported cases of the new coronavirus and 364 deaths.
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?
Published: 8 January 2022 15:49 CET
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.”
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