Denmark steps up coronavirus face mask recommendations

Denmark steps up coronavirus face mask recommendations
Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix
The Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) has updated the list of places and situations in which it says face masks should be worn.

Restrictions have been increased for situations where it is difficult to maintain social distance, with particular focus on health and elderly care, the authority said in a statement on Monday.

Increased face mask used is aimed at reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission in situations in which it is not possible to maintain a social distance.

“Infection is currently increasing across the country, and we are also seeing increased infections at care homes and hospitals,” the health authority statement read.

Some hospitals have sent staff home from work as a result of outbreaks within departments, it added.

In order to “prevent further spread of infection”, recommendations for use of face masks would now be extended to “situations with close contact including situations in which no infections or suspected infections with coronavirus have been detected,” it confirmed.

The recommendations apply to both health care personnel and members of the public.

“We are now recommending as an extra precaution that staff, patients and the public use face masks in treatment and care situations, such as at hospitals, care homes and at GPs’ surgeries,” Danish Health Authority deputy director Helene Probst said in the statement.

“That doesn’t mean everyone must wear a mask all the time. But in the situations where we are very close to each other, it can give extra protection and prevent possible (virus) transmission,” she said.

“If you are going to the doctor or the hospital for a test, take a face mask with you,” Probst added, noting that it should be worn in situations of close contact regardless of whether any potential infection was suspected.

“Patients and residents at nursing homes, hospitals and other care often have a greater risk of serious illness if they contract Covid-19. We are therefore paying close attention to protecting particularly vulnerable patients and others and we are doing this by tightening the recommendations for the use of protective equipment,” Helene Probst said.

The new guidelines replace the previous recommendations, which stated that healthcare staff should wear masks for close contact lasting over 15 minutes. Face masks are now recommended in all situations where it is not possible to keep the necessary social distance, Danish Health Authority said in the statement.

Danish Covid-19 guidelines define the distance as a minimum of 1 metre, 2 metres for contact with people known to be at increased risk of serious illness should they become infected with the coronavirus.

In addition to hospitals and doctors’ surgeries, the recommendations also apply to other healthcare situations requiring close contact, including physiotherapy, the health authority said.

If you are scheduled to go for treatment or are a visitor at a hospital or care home and are unsure of how the guidelines apply to you, the authority recommends you contact the relevant healthcare centre or facility in advance.

Monday saw 435 new cases of Covid-19 registered in Denmark as the State Serum Institute released its daily figures. The number is consistent with increased infections in recent weeks, although lower than the record 678 new infections registered on Friday.

110 people are currently hospitalised with Covid-19 in Denmark. 649 have lost their lives to the virus in Denmark since the beginning of the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Around Europe: How countries are battling to prevent a second wave of Covid-19


Member comments

  1. Denmark is behind the times medically with their information and Danish citizens seem bent on relying only on that information coming to them from their own country’s experts, ignoring the medical evidence and what’s worked in other countries. Face masks should be mandatory in all indoor public spaces, including shops and stores. At my summerhouse area near Aarhus, no one has been wearing masks except in the few situations where they have recently been prescribed. There is no apparent social distancing in grocery stores, waiters in restaurants speak directly into patron’s faces without masks. The virus most likely is spread in vapor form. Wearing masks definitely adds a significant layer of protection. “Necessary social distance” does not do so necessarily.

  2. Denmark is behind the times medically with their information and Danish citizens seem bent on relying only on that information coming to them from their own country’s experts, ignoring the medical evidence and what’s worked in other countries. Face masks should be mandatory in all indoor public spaces, including shops and stores. At my summerhouse area near Aarhus, no one has been wearing masks except in the few situations where they have recently been prescribed. There is no apparent social distancing in grocery stores, waiters in restaurants speak directly into patron’s faces without masks. The virus most likely is spread in vapor form. Wearing masks definitely adds a significant layer of protection. “Necessary social distance” does not do so necessarily.

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