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COVID-19

How Denmark’s face mask requirement will work at universities

Face masks will become mandatory at all indoor public places in Denmark from Thursday October 29th. Universities and other adult educational institutes are affected by the rule.

How Denmark’s face mask requirement will work at universities
Copenhagen Business School. File photo: Mathias Bojesen/Ritzau Scanpix

The extension of face mask requirements to all indoor public places in Denmark was announced by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Friday, as the country continues to see escalating numbers of new Covid-19 infections.

The face mask requirement will come into effect from October 29th and remain in place until January 2nd 2021.

Sunday saw Denmark register another record number of new cases of Covid-19, with 945 cases from 57,902 tests in a 24-hour period. It should be noted that the number of tests is higher than that regularly seen in recent weeks.

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At universities, the face mask rules will mean that students must wear the protective coverings while moving between different parts of university facilities, such as between classes. They will also have to wear them in canteens, corridors and all common areas.

The mandate will not apply when students are in classes or other teaching environments such as workshops, seminars, clinics or laboratories, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science said in a statement.

Teaching staff who teach more than two classes or groups in the course of a day must wear a face mask or visor.

Denmark has also reduced the maximum number of people who are allowed to assemble from 50 to 10. That restriction comes into force on Monday October 26th and remains in place until January 2nd, but does not apply to classrooms or examinations, according to the ministry.

However, the government has requested the cancellation of study trips and other events which have a primarily social purpose.

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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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