Danish police investigate businesses for breaching lockdown

A number of businesses were reported on Monday to have breached lockdown rules by reopening.

Danish police investigate businesses for breaching lockdown
Salon LeOne is amongst businesses which opened on Monday in protest at lockdown rules, according to Ritzau. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Owners of a number of stores had already declared they were planning to break with the current lockdown rules which require them to stay shuttered. They planned to reopen in protest at the lockdown, broadcaster DR reported.

As of Monday afternoon, police in Denmark have received 16 reports of illegally opened businesses and are responding to those reports, DR writes.

Two businesses have already been issued with fines.

“The two businesses which we found ourselves during patrols have been charged. We are currently investigating the 15 others,” National Police deputy police inspector Kim Erik Hansen told DR. The number of reported businesses increased from 15 to 16 after Hansen provided comment.

Lockdown rules enable authorities to issue fines of 10,000 kroner for businesses with up to 10 staff if they open in breach of the rules. Fines can increase in accordance with the number of employees.

The reported businesses are located primarily on Funen and Zealand and in Copenhagen, DR writes.

An interest organisation for small businesses in Denmark advised earlier on Monday companies not to break rules by reopening, amid rumours that a small number had planned to break with the lockdown.

“I distance myself clearly from (illegal reopening). It is never a solution to take the law into your own hands,” Jacob Brandt, CEO of SMVdanmark, told news wire Ritzau.

Although SMVdanmark is not in support of the action, Brandt said he had sympathy for small business owners who are hit hard by the current situation.

“It underlines how incredibly important it is that we see a plan from the government on when a reopening can be expected,” he said.

“Is it in 14 days or 2-3 months? And if reopening is a long way into the future, a new compensation and help package will be necessary and this must cover 100 percent of all business owners’ overheads,” he added.

The current national lockdown, which requires all shops not selling food or essential daily items to remain closed, is set to run until at least February 28th.

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

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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.”