What restrictions might Denmark bring in this week?

On Monday morning, Denmark's infectious diseases agency said Denmark urgently needed to tighten restrictions to bring the pandemic back under control. What might be coming?

What restrictions might Denmark bring in this week?
A crowded pub in Copenhagen on Saturday night. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix
“The more spread of infection there is in society, the more difficult it becomes to protect those who are at serious risk of becoming seriously ill. That is why we must react now,” Tyra Grove Krause, head of department at the Statens Serum Institut told Danish state broadcaster TV2. 
She said that measures could include tightening the maximum allowed gathering, more use of face masks, increased distance recommendations and a return for many to home working. 
Krause's came after health chair of the Denmark's ruling Social Democrats said that with 333 new people testing positive for coronavirus on Sunday, and the highest number of infections last week since April, new coronavirus restrictions would need to be put in place. 
On Saturday, police warned that young people in Denmark were no longer following even the light recommendations in place. 
“We must expect — unfortunately — to see more restrictions,” Rasmus Horn Langhoff said on Sunday. 
He said that what restrictions should be put in place would be “up to the health authorities to decide,” but he suggested that  “tailor-made, local solutions” might be best. 
So what restrictions might be on the way? 
According to an article in state broadcaster DR, several supermarket chains and restaurants claim to have held discussions with the government about whether it is possible to use face masks to reduce infection.
John Wagner, director of Denmark's main supermarket trade body, said that his members are ready to bring in the requirement.
“We have long had the feeling that it could be the next thing on the agenda. If the authorities and politicians think this is the next step, we will of course follow the recommendations that come,” he said.

Jens Lundgren, the head of infectious disease medicine at Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet, said that be believed a combination of increased use of face masks and a reduction in the maximum allowed gathering should be enough to bring the pandemic back under control. 
“When you're going to put down restrictions, you should look where the problem is, and we know that now — that it's public and private parties,” he said. 
As a result, he said the maximum allowed gathering should be reduced in areas with a high level of infection. 
But others argued that laws around bars, restaurants and nightclubs would also need to be tightened up. 
Allan Randrup Thomsen, a virologist at Copenhagen University, told state broadcaster DR that he believed that nightlife in the capital should be shut down completely. 
“When you look at how nightlife is now fully back to normal, I do not think there is any reason to wait for further increases in the number of infections. We have to intervene and shut it down,” he told state broadcaster DR. 
“Nightlife is key. In my opinion, one should close bars completely for a while. Restaurants should be for seated guests only and the assembly ban should be brought down to 20 or 25. That's what I would suggest that if I were asked.”
Horesta, which represents bars and restaurants in Denmark, said on Monday afternoon that further restrictions would simply push social life out on to the streets and encourage illegal raves and parties. 
“The more restrictions are placed on professional nightlife, which already ensures high hygiene and distance, the less attractive it is for young people to go there,” says Kirsten Munk, the trade body's political director told DR. “And then you instead push them out into the streets and alleys, to pirate parties and private parties, where there is not necessarily control over assembly bans, booze or distance.” 
In Odense, Copenhagen and 16 other municipalities around the captial, the maximum restriction has already been reduced from 100 to 50, while restaurants have been asked to close at midnight. 
The mayor of Frederiksberg in Copenhagen on Sunday called on the Danish government to bring in more restrictions on nightlife, 
“It is clear that there is a need for the authorities to step in and impose restrictions,” Simon Aggesen, said. “It does not have to be a total ban, but it can be a little more far-reaching restrictions than today.” 
On Saturday night, Copenhagen's nightlife was as busy as ever, leading to worried reports in the newspapers on Sunday, despite the police issuing a warning at a press conference on Saturday. 
“We are currently seeing behaviour that does not reflect the increase in infection,” said Thorkild Fogdet the head of Denmark's national police, according to TV2. “We are seeing too many handshakes, too many hugs, too many groups, too much crowding, and too little responsibility.” 
After a busy Copenhagen Saturday night, Peter Dahl, chief inspector of the Copenhagen Police told BT that the message did not seem to have sunk in.  
“We are very busy making sure that the young people comply with the covid rules,” he said. “However, it does not seem that the message has sunk in.”

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Denmark’s infectious disease agency does not recommend Covid tests for China arrivals

Travellers from China should not need a negative Covid-19 test when arriving in Denmark, the national infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute recommended on Saturday, in an assessment sent to the Ministry of Health.

Denmark's infectious disease agency does not recommend Covid tests for China arrivals

In the assessment by the State Serum Institute (SSI), it was noted that there aren’t expected to be a large number of arrivals coming directly from China and that any tests would have a marginal affect on Danish epidemic control.

However SSI wrote that it was still important to keep an eye on new variants of Covid-19 and suggested that a sample of voluntary-based PCR tests could be introduced for travellers from China.

The assessment was requested by Denmark’s health minister Sophie Løhde, following a recommendation on Wednesday by European Union experts to tighten travel rules.

Infection rates in China are high after it abolished its ‘zero Covid’ policy in late 2022, although no precise numbers are available.

Several European countries, including France, Spain, Italy and the UK, had already introduced testing requirements, while Sweden on Thursday announced a similar step, as did Germany, with an added announcement on Saturday to discourage non-essential travel from Germany to China.

The United States, Canada, India, South Korea and Taiwan have also put testing rules in place.

Health minister Sophie Løhde also asked SSI to assess testing waste water from aircraft landed from China. SSI responded that there is limited experience in this.

SSI currently analyses samples from shared toilet tanks at four airports twice a week – Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg and Billund. The method would have to be changed in order to detect new Covid-19 variants, which would take up to four weeks to implement, according to the assessment.

Løhde has informed the parliamentary parties about the assessment and has asked the Epidemic Commission for an advisory assessment, she said in a press release. Once this is done, the recommendations will be discussed.