Face masks still not necessary in Denmark: health agency director

Face masks still not necessary in Denmark: health agency director
Søren Brostrøm, the head of the Danish Health Authority. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix
Danish Health Authority director Søren Brostrøm, a key figure in the country’s coronavirus epidemic response, says that general wearing of face masks is not necessary in Denmark at present.

Wearing face masks on public transport, in shops or in other public places is not necessary in Denmark at the current time, Brostrøm stated in an interview with national broadcaster DR.

“Face masks do not make sense in the current situation where we still have very low infection spread in Denmark,” Brostrøm said.

READ ALSO: Are coronavirus cases increasing in Denmark?

“But could it make sense in the longer term, when we move closer together on public transport and in other situations? That is naturally something we must assess,” he added.

A number of commentators in Denmark have recently discussed the issue of whether Denmark may follow other European countries such as Italy, Francy, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom in making face masks mandatory in specified situations.

Last week, Thomas Benfield, a consultant doctor and professor of infectious disease at Hvidovre Hospital near Copenhagen, said a requirement to wear face masks could be introduced in Denmark in the autumn.

“If the beginnings of an outbreak could be seen and it was not under control, or there was a common element, then a face mask requirement could be introduced,” Benfield told Ritzau.

 

Danish health authorities changed official advice on the use of face masks relating to the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this month.

The updated guidelines from the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) advise the use of face masks in the country in certain circumstances, including when travelling home from areas considered high-risk or on the way to being tested for coronavirus.

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In June, The World Health Organisation in June updated its recommendations over face masks, recommending governments ask health members of the public wear non-medical face masks in areas where the virus is being transmitted to the community, if it is difficult to keep social distance, or in crowded areas such as on public transport. 

Brostrøm also said in the DR interview that he did not consider Denmark to be currently experiencing a second wave of coronavirus infections.

“I think it is more correct to say we still have the epidemic under control. We are still in the middle of it, maybe even in the first wave still,” he said.

“We have only managed to hold it down, but now we’re beginning to see a little bit of a flare up again. We will monitor this, including in regard to whether new measures should be introduced,” he added.

 

 


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