New Danish assembly limit comes into effect: These are the details to know

Denmark has reduced the maximum number of people who are allowed to gather in public from 50 to 10.

New Danish assembly limit comes into effect: These are the details to know
A sign during a local assembly ban in Copenhagen. A national 10-person assembly limit applies from October 26th. Photo: Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The measure, aimed at slowing increasing Covid-19 cases in the Nordic country, was announced amongst other responses by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Friday.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new coronavirus restrictions: Here’s what you need to know

A number of exceptions and rules apply to the assembly limit, which takes effect for an initial four weeks.

“Normal comings and goings” at places of work are exempted from assembly limits, although the government has previously recommended working from home where possible.

Activities for people under the age of 21, which take place under the auspices of an organisation or association (foreningslivet in Danish), remain exempted from the assembly rules.

That means up to 50 people under 21 can still meet to play team sports such as football or handball with their clubs – but anyone over that age must stick to the 10-person limit.

‘Necessary’ adults such as coaches required to supervise activities for youth teams are allowed to take part in larger gatherings under these exemptions, but parents are not permitted to cheer from the sidelines.

Professional sports remain encompassed by a rule that has enabled a limited number of spectators to watch competitions like Danish Superliga football in recent months. Stadia with “permanent sitting facing the pitch or court” are still allowed to admit a maximum of 500 spectators with social distancing in place. Professional sportspeople are also exempted from the assembly limit.

The above rule on permanent sitting also allows cinemas and theatres to remain open and admit up to 500 people provided they use permanent sitting facing the screen or stage.

Certain social relief exemptions, including hostels for homeless people, crisis centres and drop-in centres are exempted from the rule, enabling them to continue to operate normally, Minister of Social Affairs and the Interior Astrid Krag has confirmed. Staff may be required to wear face masks in some instances.

Schools, colleges and universities remain open, but any activities that are primarily social in nature should be cancelled, the government has requested.

Gyms and swimming pools remain open for everyone of all ages, provided that social distancing requirements are adhered to, although any group activities, such as Zumba, yoga or swimming lessons, will be restricted to a maximum of 10 people.

As with sports, people who are part of choirs can be exempted from the assembly limit (allowing a maximum of 50 to meet instead of 10) if they are under 21 years old. The new limit applies to over-21s.

Religious congregations taking place indoors are exempted from assembly limits, but a social distance of four square metres per person is required, and attendance is capped at 500 people.

Cultural attractions like museums and zoos remains open – attendance by unconnected visitors is not treated as ‘assembly’. But groups of visitors may not exceed 10 people.

It should be noted that face masks will be required at all public places, even if exemptions to assembly limits apply, once new rules on face masks come into effect on October 29th.

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. The number of tests is significantly higher than that regularly seen in recent weeks.

Sources: Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education, DR.


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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.”