Denmark extends lockdown to 31 more municipalities as Covid-19 cases spike

Denmark extends lockdown to 31 more municipalities as Covid-19 cases spike
Danish Minister of Health Magnus Heunicke on Thursday. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix
A further 31 municipalities in Denmark are to come under partial lockdown, as daily registered cases of the coronavirus showed a dramatic increase on Thursday.

At a press briefing, health minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed that 31 more municipalities would be added to the 38 already under partial lockdown.

All of the Zealand and Central Jutland regions will now be encompassed by the lockdown, along with Aalborg, the largest city not already under lockdown, and the central municipalities of Fredericia, Vejle and Middelfart.

The restrictions will come into effect in the additional municipalities at 4pm on Friday December 11th, and will be in place until January 3rd.

The extended partial lockdown means that 79 percent of Denmark’s population will now be affected, Heunicke said.

“We need to get infections under control. We encourage everyone to stay at home as much as possible so we can get societal activity down,” the minister said.

Wednesday and Thursday both saw Denmark post a significant jump in the record total for daily new cases of Covid-19.

A record 2,558 new cases of the coronavirus were registered on Wednesday from 91,417 tests – the third-highest number of tests Denmark has ever carried out in one day (it should be noted that fewer people were tested during the spring wave).

That figure was dwarfed by Thursday’s total of 3,132 new infections, but a record 110,000 tests have also been carried out during the last day.

Heunicke said on Thursday that 14 people have died with coronavirus since the last daily count. That takes Denmark’s total loss of lives with the virus to 918.

Restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms, sports centres and swimming pools are closed in the affected municipalities. Restaurants and cafes are 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, are closed to the public.

School children from 5th grade upwards in the affected municipalities have been sent home, with classes to take place online. The same restriction applies 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 must work from home in the affected municipalities.

The restrictions took effect in the original 38 municipalities on Wednesday December 9th and are set to remain in place until January 3rd 2021.

The director of the Danish Health Authority, Søren Brostrom, urged people in locked-down areas not to travel to neighbouring municipalities to eat at restaurants or go to gyms.

In a statement, the Ministry of Employment has confirmed that a wage compensation package for businesses impacted by the lockdown will be extended to the entire country, and not just the 69 municipalities under partial lockdown. Denmark has 98 municipalities in total.

“Stay at home! Resist the urge to have guests and meet too many people”, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen urged Danes as she arrived in Brussels for an EU summit.

READ ALSO: MAP: These are the areas of Denmark now under partial lockdown


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