Danish PM ‘ready to bring in more restrictions if needed’

Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said she is prepared to bring in still more restrictions if they are necessary to bring the level of coronavirus infections under control.

Danish PM 'ready to bring in more restrictions if needed'
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen takes part in a virtual EU meeting. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
“We believe the restrictions announced on Friday, and introduced on Monday and Thursday, are sufficient to deal with the situation we are in. If that turns out not to be the case, the government is ready to introduce more restrictions,” she told the broadcaster TV2
Denmark's new extended face mask requirement came into force on Thursday morning, as did a ban on shops selling alcohol after 10pm. On Monday, the maximum number of people Danes can meet with was reduced to ten. 
There are early signs that the number of people infected in Denmark is starting to respond to tighter restrictions, with the number of people testing positive  falling to 847 on Tuesday and 157 on Wednesday after peaking at a record-high 1,000 on Monday. 
But Frederiksen said that the experience of other countries in Europe showed how quickly the situation can change for the worse. 
“We are not standing on the edge of a second wave, we are in the middle of it and the situation is serious,” she said. “Just now the situation in Denmark is better than in many other European countries, but we can see when we look around how quickly it can go. It can be a question of a few days, whether you're in a leading position or right down at the bottom.” 
She had recently sat in a virtual meeting with other European Union leaders where it was clear that several countries were losing control of the infection. 
“I can also see that in Europe, that if you move too late, as some countries did in the spring, you will get many more infections and potentially many more deaths and that is something we do not want to see in Denmark.” 
She underlined once again how serious a threat coronavirus is. 

“I hear people say 'this is not a dangerous diseases, that it's only a type of influenza, that the government is overreacting, that this or that restriction is unnecessary, why don't we wait until we have more deaths and more infected'. This is a way of thinking that I don't think holds up against reality.” 

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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.