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Queues on Øresund Bridge as Danes return from long weekend

Danes returning from a long weekend in Bornholm and holiday cottages in Skåne caused a 2km queue on Tuesday morning, adding to Swedes' irritation at being cut out a Nordic tourism deal.

Queues on Øresund Bridge as Danes return from long weekend
There was a 6km queue after Pentecost on May 24. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT/Scanpix
Copenhagen police reported the queue in a tweet at around 8am on Tuesday.  
 
The temporary border checks on the small artificial island of Peberholm (Pepparholm in Swedish), where the bridge over from Sweden turns into a tunnel, makes it much slower to get across the Öresund, meaning queues build up quickly whenever there is heavy traffic. 
 
“The police are in place and are trying to get people through the checks as quickly as possible,” security officer Thomas Hjermind told Ritzau at 9am. “The queue is 2km long. But the traffic is moving.”
 
The long weekend around Whit Sunday and Whit Monday in Denmark has meant that many have travelled into Sweden — some to get the ferry across to Bornholm, others to stay in summer cottages in Skåne and elsewhere. 
 
Police told Ritzau that the queue was mainly formed of Danes on their way back from holiday in Sweden, together with a few Swedish cross-border workers. 
 
READ ALSO:  
 
Since Denmark imposed border controls on March 14, Danes have been able to travel to Sweden unhindered while Swedes have only been allowed into Denmark if they have a “worthy purpose”. 
 
 
Danes are supposed to go into quarantine for 14 days on their return, but this is voluntary and it seems that few do. 
 
Last Friday, Denmark's government announced that it was ready to allow tourists from Norway, Germany and Iceland into the country, but not those from Sweden.
 
“It seems absolutely crazy. Total double standards,” Christer Mårtensson, 61, from Hjärup in Skåne told Denmark's BT tabloid. 
 
“If the authorities are so afraid of the Swedes being infected don't they think that the Danes can take the infection back with them?” he added. 
 
“It doesn't make sense. It's pure populism, and it seems as if Mette Frederiksen is just trying to improve her popularity on at home.” 
 
While Sweden as a whole has higher infection rates than Denmark, Region Skåne has a lower rate
than in Copenhagen area. 
 
According to Sweden's Kvällsposten newspaper, there have been 17.8 coronavirus-related deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in Copenhagen, and just 13.3 in Skåne. 

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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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