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

Denmark last week prolonged the current Covid-19 national lockdown until February 7th, but a further extension could already be on the way.

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

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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.”