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COVID-19

Danish authorities warn of new measures after Covid-19 cases increase

Local measures to contain increasing numbers of new coronavirus cases could be introduced at the beginning of next week.

Danish authorities warn of new measures after Covid-19 cases increase
Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

A total of 173 new cases of coronavirus were registered in the latest daily update on Friday, following Thursday’s total of 179.

The numbers from the State Serum Institute appear a reversal of the improvement in Denmark's infections figures in late August.

The number of hospitalised people with Covid-19 in Denmark now stands at 18. Three people are in intensive care and all three are receiving ventilator treatment. One new death with coronavirus was registered on Friday, taking Denmark’s total lives lost to Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic to 627.

Previous days this week saw 111 (Wednesday), 99 (Tuesday) and 94 (Monday) cases registered. The figure was under 100 for seven consecutive days during last week.

The figure of 179 from Thursday is the highest daily tally since April 22nd.

New containment measures could be put in place if infection numbers in several towns do not improve by Monday, health authorities said at a press briefing on Friday.

“If infections keep increasing, it is not unrealistic for us to put stricter resources to use as soon as Monday,” Anne Lykke Petri, head of the Danish Patient Safety Authority, said according to DR’s report.

That was confirmed by health minister Magnus Heunicke.

“It is clear that if the infections continue to increase, we will have to use some of the tools that we know from (experience in) Aarhus have a significant effect in bringing down infections,” Heunicke said in reference to measures in Denmark’s second city, which saw a spike in cases in the first half of August.

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Those measures included partial closures of educational institutions and a requirement to wear face masks on public transport. The latter measure is now a national requirement at all times.

“Local shutdowns are one of the options at the top of our toolbox. We’ll look at the numbers again this weekend and if necessary, we will reach for some of these,” Heunicke said.

88 municipalities have registered new infections in the past week with 14 municipalities currently on health authorities' special observation list due to them having more than 20 infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 7 days, DR reports.

Copenhagen and Odense are both in the spotlight currently. The latter city, Denmark’s third-largest, has seen an outbreak at teacher training college UCL, where over a thousand students have now been sent home and switched to online classes.

Heunicke took the opportunity to stress good hygiene practice to reduce Covid-19 spread, including maintaining social distance, staying home if you feel ill and regularly washing hands or using disinfectant. There was also a call to refrain from private parties.

“We must remember to keep our distance. This is one of the best weapons (against the virus), but the second-best weapon is to reduce the total number of people you meet with,” said Dan Brun Petersen, acting head of department with the Danish Health Authority.

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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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