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

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 Thursday
A picture of a mink attached to a lamp post in Gjøl, a town in North Jutland where a number of mink farms are located. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

How serious is the mink coronavirus mutation and outbreak?

Yesterday, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced (via video link) that Denmark is to cull every single one of the millions of minks at farms across Denmark, effectively consigning a billion-kroner industry to the scrapheap.

The decision to cull up to 17 million animals was deemed unavoidable after a mutated version of the new coronavirus was detected at mink farms and then spread to people.

The mutation “could pose a risk that future (coronavirus) vaccines won't work the way they should,” Frederiksen told a press conference, adding: “It is necessary to cull all the minks.”

READ ALSO: Denmark to cull millions of minks over mutated coronavirus

That statement is alarming when unpacked: could a new version of coronavirus emerge from North Jutland as it did from Wuhan in January, resetting international efforts to develop a vaccine and beat the pandemic, leaving Denmark a global pariah?

It sounds far-fetched, but commentators in Denmark have begun to express concerns along these lines, based on the information coming from the government and health authorities.

We’ll have more on this in a full article later today – keep an eye on our website.

Frederiksen tests negative for Covid-19

A coronavirus outbreak at the Christiansborg parliament resulted in 13 Social Democratic ministers working remotely and several other infections reported in other parties.

The prime minister was among those required to isolate after taking part in a meeting with Nick Hækkerup, the justice minister, who tested positive for Covid-19 this week.

Frederiksen’s test has now returned negative, Ritzau reports.

Several other ministers have also confirmed their coronavirus tests have come back negative, including defence minister Trine Bramsen, interior minister Astrid Krag, Peter Hummelgaard (employment), Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil (children and education) and Lea Wermelin (environment).

Hækkerup remains the only member of the government to so far have tested positive for Covid-19.

Why do qualified internationals leave Denmark?

In the past, we’ve reported on international students who choose to remain in Denmark and build a career after graduating. Around 55 percent of international graduates do so.

So what about people who leave? We spoke to three individuals who left Denmark despite wanting to stay. The reasons they gave included uncertainty over the rules, strict residency requirements and difficulty accessing the labour market.

A full feature on this will be published on our website later today.

New travel restrictions could be announced

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to make some adjustments to its travel guidelines today. Thursday is the regular day for the ministry to make updates to its advisories based on the current situation with Covid-19 in relevant destinations.

Last week saw most of Europe given the ‘orange’ designation, which means all non-essential travel is not recommended by the foreign ministry. People who live in countries to which Denmark advises against travel are required to provide a so-called “worthy” (anerkendelsesværdigt) reason for entering Denmark.

A few countries in Europe, including Norway, Finland and Estonia, continue to avoid this list. We’ll report any changes if they are announced today.

READ ALSO: Denmark demands negative Covid-19 test at border from family members and foreign workers

Danish vocabulary:

  • Muteret: mutated
  • Rejsevejledninger: travel guidelines
  • Aflive: cull or put down (an animal)

Many thanks to all those who took the time to send such encouraging feedback on our daily news round-up. We’re going to make the daily update a permanent feature, but if you have any suggestions or feedback in future, you’re welcome to let us know – we’re always happy to hear from you.


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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Eighty-six weekend flights cancelled and a major setback for Copenhagen's artificial peninsula project are among the top headlines in Denmark this Tuesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Cancelled flights reflect dire staff shortage 

This past weekend, 86 flights to and from Danish airports were cancelled, according to Danish airline news outlet Check-in.

By their calculations, that meant that 10,000-12,000 passengers were left at the gates. Half of the cancellations were by the beleaguered SAS, which nixed 42 flights in and out of Copenhagen alone. 

“We currently have high sickness absence, [technology issues and a late flight from a partner airline, ed.] and we already have a tight staffing situation, Alexandra Lindgren Kaoukji, SAS spokesperson in Denmark, told Check-in.  

READ ALSO: What are your rights if your flight is cancelled in Denmark? 

New Herlufsholm chairman: culture creates ‘problems for the weak,’ while ‘the strong’ manage

The latest wrinkle in the Herlufsholm scandal is the appointment of Jon Stokholm, former Danish Supreme Court Justice, as chairman of the board. 

The 71-year-old told newswire Ritzau that he believes Herlufsholm’s emphasis on individualism was where the school went wrong. 

“Such a culture creates problems for the weak,” Stokholm said. “The strong will cope.” (This seems an unusual way to describe students at a school struggling with bullying.) 

READ ALSO: Danish royal children withdrawn from controversial boarding school 

Artificial peninsula project Lynetteholm faces major setback 

Copenhagen’s dreams for a self-financing Lynetteholm, the new Copenhagen district to be built on a manmade peninsula in the harbour, have shattered like a ‘broken Kinder egg,”  mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen told broadcaster DR

New number-crunching by the ministry of transportation reveals that the profits from selling plots of land on future Lynetteholm, which promised to fund the creation of a metro connection and an eastern road ring, are likely to fall far short of that figure. 

The project was designed to solve three problems in one fell swoop — its creators say Lynetteholm will ameliorate the Copenhagen housing shortage, reduce congestion in the rest of the city and protect the mainland from storm surges in the face of climate change. 

READ ALSO: Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen

Pollution linked to 10 percent of Europe’s cancer cases 

The European Environment Agency released a report today that concludes more than 10 percent of all cancer cases in Europe are preventable — because they can be tied to pollution. 

“Together, exposure to air pollution, carcinogenic chemicals, radon, UV radiation and passive smoking can account for over ten percent of the cancer burden in Europe,” the EEA wrote in a statement. 

Cancer cases due to exposure to radiation or chemical carcinogens can be reduced to “an almost insignificant level,” environment and health expert at the EEA Gerardo Sanchez told reporters last week. 

Of special interest to Danes, who sometimes eschew sunscreen during the summer months, should be the EEA’s calculation that four percent of European cancer cases are linked to natural UV radiation from the sun.