Denmark sustains low rate of Covid-19 infections but B117 spread continues

Denmark sustains low rate of Covid-19 infections but B117 spread continues
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix
A total of 428 new cases of Covid-19 were registered in Denmark on Friday.

The new cases were found amongst 128,269 tests nationally giving a test positivity rate of 0.33, according to data from the State Serum Institute (SSI), the country’s national infectious disease agency.

The positivity rate has now remained under 1 percent for around a month.

That is a positive sign, according to an expert who spoke to news wire Ritzau.

“The number of new infections has fallen and that is good. It shows that we are still reducing the number of new cases and that is important in light of the more infectious British variant [B117, ed.], which now comprises around 30 percent of infections,” said Eskild Pedersen, an professor of infectious disease at Aarhus University.

Authorities are currently closely monitoring the growth of the more infectious B117 variant.

Preliminary SSI data shows that the variant caused 28.5 percent of positive Covid-19 tests analysed in the first week of February.

The spread of the variant is the primary reason why a lifting of current lockdown rules is not currently on the cards, Pedersen said.

“(The variant) also means that the measures we introduce are 50 percent less effective, all things being equal,” he said.

The variant has been estimated to be around 50 percent more infectious than previous forms of Covid-19.

“We know that the mutation will take over and the big question is therefore how well the restrictions work when the British variant forms 70 percent of cases,” he said.

The number of people currently hospitalised with Covid-19 now stands at 337, 20 fewer than yesterday and the lowest for several weeks.

A total of 2,280 people and Denmark have died with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Conservative parties in Denmark today issued a joint statement calling for a cautious reopening of closed parts of society in regions with low infection numbers. But that would have to be undertaken with care, Pedersen said.

“I can understand the pressure to open up, but the problem is that if you are in Copenhagen and have built up a need to shop, and a department store has reopened in Roskilde, people will go there to do their shopping,” he said.

“It’s hard to control who goes in and out of regional limits,” he added.

Some small region service could reopen with relative safety, however, the professor said.

“You could open town hall services [borgerservice, ed.] to provide service to local residents, or small businesses like local hair salons, or a local market where people rarely come from far away,” he said.

Denmark’s vaccination programme is meanwhile moving forward but has been hampered by reductions and delays to deliveries by all three companies currently supplying the country with vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

Latest SSI figures show that 212,206 people have now receive at least one dose of the vaccination, corresponding to 3.64 percent of the population.

Of the those who have received a vaccine, 159,059 have received both doses. That is 2.73 percent of the population.

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