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Denmark extends Covid-19 ban on prolonged visits to Copenhagen enclave

A police ban preventing public use of the Christiania area is to be extended until January 27th.

Denmark extends Covid-19 ban on prolonged visits to Copenhagen enclave
Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The ban, a so-called opholdsforbud, allows the public only to pass through, but not stop in the area. It was introduced earlier this month as a measure to reduce Covid-19 infections.

It applies in the ‘Pusher Street' and ‘Green Light District' of Christiania, an alternative enclave in the Danish capital. In more normal times, the area is known for features including the market stands on Pusher Street, from where cannabis is sometimes illicitly traded and clamped down on by police.

Under the ban, presence in the affected is banned between 10am and midnight.

Walking, running and walking of dogs in the affected area is allowed, but not further public use is permitted.

Failure to comply with the ban can result in a fine of 2,500 kroner.

“Police have noted that there are many people around the area daily,” Copenhagen Police said in a statement.

“It is believed that there is a large risk that many of them will gather in Pusher Street and Green Light District in such a way and in such numbers that would be in breach of current restrictions along with the general recommendations of health authorities, should the ban be lifted,” the statement read.

Residents in Christiania recently decided to close off the entrance to the neighbourhood with a fence due to concerns the cannabis trade, which is usually conducted in the areas affected by the ban, would spread to nearby areas.

Denmark’s current national restrictions ban assembly of more than 5 people in public places.

READ ALSO: Denmark makes homeless a priority in vaccine rollout

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COVID-19

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.” 

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