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COVID-19

Denmark discovers 33 cases of new Covid variant

Denmark has discovered 33 Covid-19 infections with the new coronavirus variant that has been spreading rapidly in the UK, reported Reuters.

Denmark discovers 33 cases of new Covid variant
Image: Claus Bjoern Larsen / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

The State Serum Institute (SSI), Denmark’s infectious disease authority, reported on Wednesday December 23 that the new variant had be found in Covid patients, who tested positive between November 14 and December 14.

So far Denmark has analysed genetic material from 7,805 positive tests during the month-long period. Data shows that the new variant was found in approximately 0.4% of Covid infections.

However, SSI reports that this is only 13.5% of all the positive tests in that period and that percentage could change once more have been analysed.

“The latest sequencing results indicate that there is societal infection in Denmark with the new English virus variant, albeit at a very low level,” the SSI said.

Denmark, like many other countries in the EU and across the world, has suspended flights from the UK, where the new variant of the virus – said to be 70% more infectious than other variants – has spread rapidly in southern England and London.

Initial research shows that the 33 people who contracted the new variant of the virus in Denmark did not have any connection to the UK and had not been travelling, the SSI said.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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