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Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday

We’ll admit it – the biggest story of today might not come out of Denmark. Nevertheless, you can find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is in isolation after taking a Covid-19 test. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

PM in isolation after Covid-19 outbreak at parliament

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has been tested for coronavirus and is currently in isolation, the Prime Minister’s office confirmed in a statement on Wednesday morning.

A series of ministers, members of parliament and a party leader – Søren Pape Poulsen of the Conservatives – were yesterday confirmed to have tested positive for Covid-19. A number of other parliamentarians have isolated due to suspected contact with the virus and Frederiksen’s questions session in parliament was postponed.

READ ALSO: Is Denmark's parliament at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak?

Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup, who said on Tuesday he was experiencing symptoms and awaiting a test result, has now confirmed a positive test for Covid-19. Hækkerup said in a Facebook post that he had a cough and fever but is in good spirits.

Frederiksen, along with foreign minister Jeppe Kofod and finance minister Nicolai Wammen, attended a meeting alongside Hækkerup at the end of last week and are now awaiting the results of their Covid-19 tests.

An ex-minister suggested that procedures at the Christiansborg parliament be adapted to prevent the spread of infection.

“Perhaps – very carefully suggested – Parliament should rethink consultations and votes. Not by not having them. But the way they take place. Disease is every man's master,” Søren Pind wrote on Twitter.

The parliament has now said it will restrict the number of people who can attend meetings.

Potential scandal over pesticides in drinking water

Reports emerged on Monday evening that Danish municipalities have given incorrect dispensations to waterworks, enabling them to exceed limits on pesticides in drinking water.

The dispensations have been in breach of EU rules since 2013, according to news wire Ritzau, meaning that authorities in Denmark may have allowed unfit drinking water for several years.

The EU Commission has contacted Denmark’s Environmental Protection Agency (Miljøstyrelsen) on repeated occasions over the issue, according to the report.

Minister for the Environment Lea Wermelin said that dispensations “which are illegal must be stopped”, while Carl Valentin, environment spokesperson with left wing party SF, took to social media to call for a review.

Denmark’s Patient Safety Authority has reviewed the chemicals in the water and found no health risk related to drinking the water, according to the report.

It’s not the first time Danish tap water has been the subject of suspected mismanagement.

Danish company churns out windmills to up turnover

Vestas, the Danish engineering company famous as a wind turbine maker and a significant employer of foreign nationals and Danes, produced record amounts of windmills in the third quarter of 2020, according to results published today.

The company’s turnover in Q3 increased by 31 percent to 35.5 billion kroner, giving a profit of 2.2 billion kroner – a similar profit to the comparable period last year, when the sale of windparks in Romania boosted numbers.

Tivoli introduces booking system

Iconic tourist attraction Tivoli is to introduce a booking system for guests after queues played havoc with social distancing guidelines.

The popular amusement park – which served as a temporary childcare location earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic – was particularly busy during its Halloween opening times.

The new booking system will be in place when the park opens again for its Christmas season on November 13th, meaning visitors will have to book their day at the rides in advance. The exact details of the system are yet to be confirmed.

Covid-19 infections remain high

Tuesday’s daily update from the State Serum Institute infectious disease agency saw a record 1,353 new cases of coronavirus registered in Denmark, albeit from an also unusually high number of tests: 73,710. Those figures give a test positivity rate of 1.8 percent.

The reproduction rate or R-number is at 1.1, meaning the virus is currently spreading in Denmark. If the reproduction rate is above 1.0, that means the number of infected in a society will grow. If it is slightly below, the number will decline. 

169 people are currently hospitalised with Covid-19 in Denmark.

Health minister Magnus Heunicke tweeted that it is “therefore important that we work together to break chains of infection.”

You can check the current Covid-19 restrictions in Denmark via the articles below.

American election

With the US election on a knife edge, it’s hard to see what the future holds for Americans, including those based in Denmark. We’ll have reaction from US nationals in Denmark at some time in the coming days (possibly today), once there’s enough calm to pause for a moment and comment. Keep an eye on our homepage for that.

Danish vocabulary:

  • Kontakttal: reproduction rate or R-number
  • Omsætning: turnover
  • Forlystelsepark: amusement park

We're trialling a short daily round-up of the news, in addition to our other articles and features about life in Denmark. We would love to know what you think of this article. Is it useful and would you like to see it continue, or would you prefer a weekly round-up, or something else entirely? Please email [email protected] to let us know.

 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

An agreement on a change to the pay limit scheme, Covid infection rates, and the latest on monkeypox are among the top headlines in Denmark this Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Parliament lowers salary required for pay limit scheme 

Yesterday evening, the Danish parliament agreed on a significant change to the pay limit scheme, which grants residence permits to foreign workers with job offers in Denmark above a yearly salary threshold. 

As of December 1st, salaries at or above 375,000 kroner will qualify for the scheme. (Based on today’s exchange rates, that’s the equivalent of $52,662, €50,394 and £43,355.)

It’s a 16 percent decrease from the current pay limit of 448,000, and the lowered threshold will exist on a trial basis for the next three years. 

The decision comes after months of political wrangling over the terms of the reduction. Supporters of the reform say the change is necessary to help alleviate soaring demand for labour in Denmark. 

Look out for a full report on this story on our website this morning.

READ ALSO: How can you get a work permit in Denmark if you are not an EU national? 

Serious illness stays low as Covid-19 case counts triple 

Since June 1st, positive PCR tests have nearly tripled in Denmark — and while hospital admissions for Covid patients have increased slightly, there hasn’t been a dramatic increase in serious illness from the virus, according to a press release from the National Board of Health. 

Health officials have kept a close eye on hospital admissions in light of BA.5., the new Omicron sub-variant that now accounts for the majority of cases in Denmark. Their analysis and studies in other countries suggest BA.5 does not cause more serious illness on a population level than previous variants. 

“We expect to look forward to a relatively calm summer, but we naturally keep an eye on whether there are changes in the infection situation,” Søren Brostrøm, director of the National Board of Health, told newswire Ritzau. 

Authorities earlier this week suggested the summer wave of infections is already waning.

What’s the status of monkeypox in Denmark? 

Two more cases of monkeypox were confirmed yesterday by the Ministry of Health, bringing the national tally to 18 since May 23rd. 

Officials have identified and vaccinated 22 close contacts to the known cases, the Ministry added. 

Since monkeypox can only be transmitted by touch when the characteristic rash with white blisters is already present, the risk to the population remains very low, scientists say. 

Thulesen Dahl leaves Danish People’s Party

Kristian Thulesen Dahl, former chairman and co-founder of the Danish People’s Party, has finally resigned after weeks of deliberation. His departure is the eleventh from the party in the past six months, leaving only five members in parliament. 

Thulesen Dahl says he will consider Inger Støjberg’s offer to join the Denmark Democrats, a new party currently gathering voter declarations to qualify for seats in parliament. 
READ ALSO: Danish People’s Party decimated by new high-profile departures 

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