Danish PM warns to maintain social distancing rules as coronavirus infection rates rise in Denmark

Danish PM warns to maintain social distancing rules as coronavirus infection rates rise in Denmark
Svanemøllen Strand in Copenhagen, Saturday 8 August 2020. As temperatures rise, both the Danish PM and National Police Chief have warned people to keep a distance. Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen wrote a lengthy message on her Facebook Page on Friday evening, warning people about the rise in coronavirus infections in the country and hinting that face masks could become mandatory if needed.

In the post she said: “Like many others, I have followed the increase in the number of infections with increasing seriousness – and concern. We know from the authorities that much of the increase is due to the outbreaks in Ringsted and Aarhus. 

“But there is also a more widespread increase. And we face the fact that on top of the summer, there will be a lot of activity again in our society. Many have returned from vacation, started work, and on Monday schools will start again.

“It is now – in these weeks – that each of us are part of deciding how to enter the autumn. Whether we can stabilise the increase in the infection figures. And keep the coronavirus down.”

The Prime Minister also gave an interview on Saturday to a Danish newspaper where she suggested that face masks could be made compulsory in certain circumstances, to avoid further lockdowns. She also referred to this in the Facebook message:

“As a government, we will go a really long way to avoid a shutdown to the extent we decided in March. Not least for our economy.

“First and last it's still about breaking the chain of infection….distance is so incredibly important. Hand wash or hand sanitiser. Staying home from school or work if you have symptoms.

“Now also a face mask on public transport. I know this is new to the vast majority of us. This is not something we have been used to here in Scandinavia….as a government we cannot deny that it may be necessary to introduce it as a requirement in several parts of society.”

Face masks were last week made a mandatory requirement on public transport in Aarhus, following a spike in coronavirus cases in the city.

A National warehouse has had to supply five million face masks to Aarhus to cover the private market supply gap, after pharmacies and Matas stores sold out. The health service has sufficient stock, according to Martin Magelund Rasmussen, national coordinator for the stock of protective equipment.

From a very low number of new infections at the beginning of the summer holidays, the number of coronavirus infections has been steadily increasing in Denmark since week 29.

The current heatwave Denmark is experiencing is also causing concern. National Police Chief Thorkild Fogde has warned against going to popular areas during the heat but to keep at a distance.

“When we have as good weather as we have at the moment, you especially have to think about when you want to go out and enjoy the sun. One should not go where everyone else wants to go. One should try to find some other places,” Thorkild Fogde told Ritzau. 

“Assemblies of up to 100 people are allowed. Due to the development of the infection, the planned increase to 200 people has been postponed, and in the summer heat, many small groups can quickly turn into several hundred people,” he warns. 

On Saturday, 128 confirmed cases of the coronavirus were recorded in Denmark. On Friday there were 169 confirmed cases, the highest figure for a single day since 25 April. This is according to figures sent by health authorities to the parliamentary parties, DR said.  

Mette Frederiksen also suggested in her Facebook message and newspaper interview that the reopening of nightlife would most likely be postponed. Parliamentary parties meet on Wednesday to discuss the final stage four of reopening.

 


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