Nine arrested in Denmark after violent anti-lockdown demo

Nine people were arrested in Denmark on Saturday after demonstrations against the country's coronavirus restrictions turned violent in two cities including capital Copenhagen, police and local media said.

Nine arrested in Denmark after violent anti-lockdown demo
A protester confronts police near Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix
Between 200 and 250 people had gathered in Copenhagen and dozens in the city of Aalborg in Denmark's north, according to media reports citing police accounts.
Organised by a group calling itself “Men in Black”, the demonstrations targeted restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Protesters shouted: “Freedom for Denmark, we have had enough,” according to media reports.
In TV broadcasts and video posted to social media, police in riot gear could be seen clashing with protesters in Copenhagen, who lit fireworks and threw bottles.
Four people were arrested in the capital, two for violence against a police officer, one for violating the fireworks code and one for not following directions from a police officer.
Rasmus Schultz, coordinating officer with the Copenhagen police, told public broadcaster DR that some of the protesters were people that they recognised from the “hooligan environment”.
In Aalborg, five people were arrested, all for violating the fireworks code.
Responding to a surge in virus cases and the threat of recently discovered variant strains believed to spread faster, Denmark on Tuesday announced even tighter measures on top of a partial lockdown in place since mid-December.
In addition to existing measures like working from home and the closure of schools, bars, restaurants and most shops, gatherings of more than five people were banned — down from 10 — and people were asked to keep two metres (six feet) apart, rather than one metre.
On Friday, the country banned entry for foreigners without a negative virus test from the previous 24 hours.
It also advised against all travel abroad and announced that airlines flying to Denmark would need to make sure that all passengers had tested negative to be able to land.

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Denmark’s infectious disease agency does not recommend Covid tests for China arrivals

Travellers from China should not need a negative Covid-19 test when arriving in Denmark, the national infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute recommended on Saturday, in an assessment sent to the Ministry of Health.

Denmark's infectious disease agency does not recommend Covid tests for China arrivals

In the assessment by the State Serum Institute (SSI), it was noted that there aren’t expected to be a large number of arrivals coming directly from China and that any tests would have a marginal affect on Danish epidemic control.

However SSI wrote that it was still important to keep an eye on new variants of Covid-19 and suggested that a sample of voluntary-based PCR tests could be introduced for travellers from China.

The assessment was requested by Denmark’s health minister Sophie Løhde, following a recommendation on Wednesday by European Union experts to tighten travel rules.

Infection rates in China are high after it abolished its ‘zero Covid’ policy in late 2022, although no precise numbers are available.

Several European countries, including France, Spain, Italy and the UK, had already introduced testing requirements, while Sweden on Thursday announced a similar step, as did Germany, with an added announcement on Saturday to discourage non-essential travel from Germany to China.

The United States, Canada, India, South Korea and Taiwan have also put testing rules in place.

Health minister Sophie Løhde also asked SSI to assess testing waste water from aircraft landed from China. SSI responded that there is limited experience in this.

SSI currently analyses samples from shared toilet tanks at four airports twice a week – Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg and Billund. The method would have to be changed in order to detect new Covid-19 variants, which would take up to four weeks to implement, according to the assessment.

Løhde has informed the parliamentary parties about the assessment and has asked the Epidemic Commission for an advisory assessment, she said in a press release. Once this is done, the recommendations will be discussed.