Danish PM hints at new extension of Covid-19 lockdown despite drop in infections

Danish PM hints at new extension of Covid-19 lockdown despite drop in infections
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in parliament on Tuesday. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark last week prolonged the current Covid-19 national lockdown until February 7th, but a further extension could already be on the way.

The current restrictions include the closure of schools, universities and non-essential stores as well as requiring most people to work from home where possible; public assembly limits of no more than 5 people; and mandatory face mask use in indoor public areas.

They have been in full effect since December 25th and had already been extended once before the new deadline of February 7th was announced last week.

During the party leader’s debate in parliament in Tuesday, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen suggested that the restrictions could last longer than the current timescale.

“The situation is so serious that we can easily envisage a need to extend parts of the restrictions we have, even now, because we’re at a critical point,” Frederiksen said.

“At the same time, we are rolling out vaccines as quickly as we possibly can. Around three percent of Danes are now vaccinated [received the first dose, ed.], that is the highest proportion in the EU, and we are doing what we can to get more vaccines released faster,” she added.

READ ALSO: When and how can foreign residents get the Covid-19 vaccine in Denmark?

Denmark registered 724 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, the lowest since October 21st  and continuing a trend of recent days which has seen daily new cases fall under 1,000. The 724 cases came from 83,705 tests, test positivity rate of 0.86.

792 people are currently hospitalised with Covid-19 in Denmark.

The reproduction rate or R-number is currently estimated to be 0.6, meaning the epidemic within the country is trending downwards. But concern over the spread of the more infectious B117 variant means the virus must be further limited, according to health minister Magnus Heunicke.

“The number of people in hospital (with Covid-19) is still too high. Must be forced down before cluster B117 takes over the Danish epidemic,” Heunicke tweeted.

“Help us, get tested,” he added.

The B117 variant has been estimated to be between 50-74 percent more infectious than established forms of Covid-19.

Denmark has announced testing of all positive Covid-19 test swabs for the variant in order to better assess its spread across the country.


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