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FINANCIAL

Denmark strikes deal on 20,000 kroner summer payouts

Denmark's government has struck a deal with opposition and support parties to release three weeks of the so-called 'frozen holiday money', and give out 1,000 kroner tax-free cheques to pensioners and students.

Denmark strikes deal on 20,000 kroner summer payouts
Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen (centre) announces the deal with other part leaders on Sunday night. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix
The new “summer package“, will be released as part of an agreement between all parties except the populist Danish People's and New Right Parties, and the libertarian Liberal Alliance, and also contained details of how other financial support packages put in place in March will be phased out. 
 
Although finance minister Nicolai Wammen said that the money might not be disbursed until as late as October, for technical reasons, he encouraged Danes to start spending now. 
 
“Danes can feel sure that the money is coming, so if you want to use the money for ice cream, clothes or things for your home, you can do this safe in the knowledge that the money is coming by October,” he said. 
 
The release of the holiday money will mean a payment of 19,000 kroner before tax for the average worker, the Ekstra Bladet newspaper estimated. 
 
It will mean a payout of 12,600 after tax with someone earning an annual income of 300,000 kroner before tax, according to Danske Bank. For those earning a million kroner a year, the payment could be as high as 32,400 kroner. 
 
 
Troels Lund Poulsen, finance spokesperson for the opposition Liberal Party, welcomed the agreement. 
 
“We must get started domestic consumption going again. That is why we are pleased to note that three of the holiday weeks are now being paid out,” he said. 
 
The 100bn kroner in 'frozen holiday money' was created last year when Denmark switched to a new system of holiday pay.
 
Under the old scheme, workers built up the allowance over a year and could only take it after the following May. Under the new one, they earn 2.08 days of holiday a month, which can be used immediately. To avoid double payment, the money built up the previous year was put into a fund which Danes were to have access to on retirement. 
 
Releasing three weeks of money will mean a total payout of 60bn kroner. The government said it planned to discuss whether to release the final 40bn with other parties after the summer. 
 
As part of the deal, the government also announced a long list of changes and extensions of existing financial support schemes for companies. 
 
Among these was an agreement to phase out the support scheme for the self-employed and freelancers by August 8th. 

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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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