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Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Friday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Friday
A penguin at Odense Zoo on Thursday. Photo: Michael Bager/Jysk Fynske Medier/Ritzau Scanpix

Temperatures to plummet with plenty of snow forecast in coming weeks

A prognosis published by meteorological institute DMI suggests we could be in for a very cold February.

Cold winds from northern Scandinavia and Eastern Europe could push temperatures as low as 15 degrees below zero in coming weeks. Snow is also expected to fall again, so white landscapes seen across Denmark this week could stay around for a while.

High coronavirus alert level retained

Despite low current infection rates, authorities are retaining the current ‘level 5’ risk assessment level for coronavirus in all five of Denmark’s healthcare administrative regions.

“The continued growth of (more infectious variant) B117 and uncertainty about its development and effect on overall infection rates speaks in favour of retaining risk level 5,” a health authority note states according to news wire Ritzau.

The scale is used as an assessment of the level of strain on health authorities and prevalence of the virus throughout society. 5 is the highest level, 1 the lowest.

Start of 2021 sees highest number of bankrupt businesses in a decade

Although 2020 saw a low number of Danish companies go out of business despite the coronavirus pandemic, that trend has not continued into 2021, according to Ritzau.

225 companies filed for bankruptcy in January, a 20 percent increase compared to December and the highest number for January since 2010.

Last year, the total number of bankruptcies was the lowest since 2015.

Compensation packages given to business hit by the pandemic may have warded off some bankruptcies initially, but the impact may now be becoming more apparent, an analyst told the news agency.

Copenhagen Municipality green-lights construction on nature reserve

A part of the Amager Fælled nature area has lost its reserve status and can now be sold to investors, after a majority in the city’s municipal council voted in favour of development on Thursday.

The 219,000 square-kilometre area, known as Lærkesletten, can be sold to developers who wish to build homes on the land, broadcaster TV2 reports.

The sale raises money needed by the city to pay for the new Metro lines, which opened last year, and was part of a political deal agreed in 2017.

City councillors from the Social Democrats, Social Liberals, Liberals, Conservatives, Danish People’s Party and two independents voted in favour, while Red-Green Alliance, Alternative and Independent Green parties and one independent opposed.

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

A Dane going to space, beefing up the Danish navy, and increasing Covid cases are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Covid cases increase as holidays end

The number of positive PCR tests in Denmark is again on the rise with people returning to work and school after summer holidays, according to the latest data from the State’s Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease agency.  

From the last week of July to the first week of August, cases rose 18 percent, while the positive percentage grew to 27 percent. 

“Activity in our society is increasing, and people may also be more aware of getting tested for symptoms in connection with starting work and education,” says Tyra Grove Krause, professional director of the SSI. 

Central and North Jutland have seen the highest overall infection rates, while nationwide 40-59 year olds are seeing the most positive tests. 

Data on incidence rates are more likely to be an underestimate given Denmark’s dramatically reduced public testing program, which saw all quick test sites and all but a handful of PCR test sites shuttered in the spring. On August 15, authorities further restricted guidelines for who should be tested if they experience Covid symptoms — now, the official guidance is that testing is only recommended for people who are 65 years old or over, pregnant, or have a condition that causes a higher risk of sever outcomes for Covid-19. 

Danish astronaut announces mission to space 

Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen will spend six months at the International Space Station as part of Mission Huginn — named after one of two ravens from Norse mythology that flew around the world to gather news for the god Odin.

Instead of news of the world, Mogensen will be gathering information about “sleep and well-being in space” as well as attempt to 3D print metal components, all essential for potential longer-term space travel to destinations like Mars. 

Denmark to strengthen naval fleet with eye to Russia 

Defense minister Morten Bodskov announced a significant investment in the Danish navy on Thursday.

Over the next 20 years, 40 billion kroner will be spent to upgrade the Danish fleet. “We are facing a serious situation in Europe. There is war in Europe. We have just been through a corona pandemic, and common to both is that it has created problems for our security of supply,” Bodskov told reporters, according to newswire the Agence France-Presse. 

“It is not viable, especially in times of war in Europe, for the Danish defence to have problems getting ships and other equipment built,” he added. “That is why we are taking action now” with industry partners to build our own warships. 

READ MORE: From June: Russian warship violates Danish waters

Danish politicians may visit Taiwan 

Members of Danish parliament from six political parties are ready to travel to Taiwan after a possible election this autumn, newspaper Politiken reports. 

“Taiwan must not be isolated in the way that China wants it to be. They must not succeed in that,” Michael Aastrup Jensen, foreign affairs spokesman for the Liberal party (Venstre) told Politiken. 

The six parties that have signed on to a possible trip are the Conservatives, the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), the Social Liberals (Radikale), the Danish People’s Party, the Liberal party, and the new Danish Democrats party. 

However, some, including Socialist People’s Party foreign affairs spokesman Karsten Hønge, say stirring the pot in Taiwan could cause more harm than good. 

READ MORE: From 2019: Copenhagen Zoo removes Taiwan from display map to get loan pandas from China 

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