A partial lockdown in 38 different municipalities, including Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and parts of Zealand is to take effect in Denmark from Wednesday this week.
Restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms, sports centres and swimming pools are to be closed in the affected municipalities. Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to operate takeaway services. Professional sport is exempted from the restrictions.
Indoor areas at amusement parks, zoos, aquariums and similar types of attractions, as well as at museums, theatres, cinemas and libraries, will also all be closed to the public.
School children from 5th grade upwards in the affected municipalities are to be sent home, with classes to take place online. The same restriction will be applied to all adult and further education, including upper secondary schools (gymnasier) and universities. Exams will take place, but will be moved online wherever possible.
Public sector workers not in critical functions will work from home in the affected municipalities.
The restrictions will take effect from Wednesday December 9th and remain in place until January 3rd 2021, Frederiksen confirmed at a press briefing on Monday.
The municipalities in question include all of those in the Capital Region (Hovedstaden) health authority, excluding Baltic Sea island Bornholm; a large number of Zealand municipalities; and Aarhus and Odense, Denmark’s second and third-largest cities.
Specifically, that is the following municipalities: Albertslund, Allerød, Ballerup, Brøndby, Dragør, Egedal, Faxe, Fredensborg, Frederiksberg, Frederikssund, Furesø, Gentofte, Helsingør, Herlev, Hillerød, Hvidovre, Høje-Taastrup, Halsnæs, Gribskov, Greve, Glostrup, Gladsaxe, Hørsholm, Ishøj, Copenhagen, Køge, Lejre, Lyngby-Tårbæk, Odense, Roskilde, Rudersdal, Rødovre, Slagelse, Solrød, Tårnby, Vallensbæk, Vordingborg, Aarhus.
National restrictions which have been in place since the end of October, which include assembly limits, restrictions on alcohol sales and face mask requirements, are also to be extended through to the end of February, Frederiksen confirmed.
The October restrictions had been scheduled to expire at the beginning of January, but Frederiksen warned of a worsening situation with the virus in Denmark in the early months of 2021.
That means the current public assembly limit of 10 people is to stay in place over Christmas, while private events are still encouraged not to exceed 10 people, including during Christmas celebrations.
“We can soon put 2020 behind us. The vaccine is coming, and we hope that it will be in 2021 that we put restrictions behind us. But we are facing some hard months in January and February,” Frederiksen said.
“We all want to spend Christmas with those we care about”: Mette Frederiksen #COVID19dk
— Michael Barrett (@MLBarrett15) December 7, 2020
The restrictions come after the virus situation in Denmark appeared to be moving towards a more serious level over the weekend. 1,745 cases of infection were recorded in a 24-hour period, the highest ever recorded in the country. It should be noted that testing was less widespread during the spring wave of Covid-19.
At Monday’s briefing, health minister Magnus Heunicke warned that the epidemic situation in Denmark appears to be “entering a new phase” and also stated that the latest daily infections total would be even higher, exceeding 2,000 in 24 hours for the first time.
Denmark’s national infectious diseases agency, State Serum Institute (SSI) estimated earlier on Monday that daily new cases of Covid-19 could reach 4,000 by Christmas if authorities did not make further intervention to slow the current spread, Ritzau reported. The estimate should be considered uncertain and based on the assumption that the current rate of increase was to continue unchanged.
Copenhagen restrictions announced last week take force in full today, but the new restrictions overtake these and will take effect on Wednesday.
328 people are currently admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in Denmark, of which half are over 70 years old, Heunicke said at Monday’s briefing. The hospitalisation total is expected to reach 400 within the next week, the minister said.