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FOOTBALL

Danish football club to offer drive-in viewing for locked-down fans

Football fans in Denmark are banned from attending matches due to restrictions over the new coronavirus, but top division club Midtjylland has come up with a solution inspired by classic drive-in theatres.

Danish football club to offer drive-in viewing for locked-down fans
The drive-ins would be held at the MCH Arena in Herning. Photo: EU Updates/Wikimedia Commons
Sporting and cultural events are one of the pleasures that Danes, like many Europeans, have had to give up as restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 have been introduced.
   
The Danish league is currently suspended until further notice but Midtjylland has already invited fans to enjoy matches, once they resume, from the parking lot outside the stadium.
   
Sitting in parked cars, fans will be able to follow the action inside on giant screens, while adhering to social distancing restrictions.
   
“At first, we'll have a capacity of 2,000 cars with up to five fans in each,” Mads Hviid Jakobsen, spokesman for the 2018 Danish league champions, told AFP.
 
   
 
The announcement has already been praised by fans.
   
“I'm proud of my club,” said one Facebook user, while another was delighted that he “won't have to freeze next time” he attends a match.
   
Hviid Jakobsen expected matches, which would begin being played in empty stadiums, to resume in “the period of May 21 to May 31”.
   
“If it turns out to be a success, we have the possibility to scale it up to 12,000 cars,” he added.
   
That means the new arrangement could satisfy up to 60,000 people, which is nearly all of the inhabitants of the city of Herning where the club is based. 
 
Nearly 87,000 people live in the municipality and the MCH Arena, the club's home ground, has a capacity for 11,800 spectators.

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COVID-19

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.” 

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