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

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 Wednesday
Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Political push for lifting of lockdown

The government has so far given no firm plan on what will happen when the current lockdown-like Covid-19 restrictions expire on February 28th. But other parties in parliament are asking for some easing of the current rules.

That includes the Socialist People’s Party (SF), part of the alliance which props up the minority government. SF wants all school students to return to classes on March 1st. So far, only younger age groups have been allowed to return (although they are off for the winter break this week).

Broadcaster DR has suggested that a parliamentary majority not including the government could force the issue, such is the gathering support for easing the lockdown.

Health minister Magnus Heunicke has told DR he “hopes” that it will be possible to ease measures on March 1st.

New border region travel restrictions take effect

Tightened rules for people travelling into Denmark from border regions take effect from today. People who live and work in bordering regions of Germany and Sweden have faced more flexible entry requirements than those in the general restrictions. That remains the case, but the new rules are more stringent than before.

You can find full detail on the new restrictions for border travel here.

International student sent to migrant detention centre after overstaying visa

We reported yesterday on an international student who belatedly realised her visa was about to expire just before New Year, when authorities were closed for the holidays.

She attempted to correct the problem and called police herself, but that did not prevent her from being detained at Ellebæk, a facility for migrants without legal right to stay in Denmark. She was later deported.

A member of parliament told me he felt her treatment was “out of proportion” and has questioned the use of Ellebæk – which has previously come in for strong criticism from the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture – for a student with a visa issue.

Read the story in full here.

Greenland calls elections

Greenland's parliament voted yesterday in favour of holding new elections in the spring, after weeks of political turmoil triggered by a controversial mining project.

The world's largest island, an autonomous territory of the Danish kingdom, will hold a snap election sometime in the spring, after its parliament, the Inatsisartut, adopted a motion put forward by the opposition, news wire AFP writes.

“Now all we need is to find a date for the election,” Greenland's head of government Kim Kielsen told parliament.

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Gale force winds and hail, 'automatic' organ donation, and whether to inform landowners of possible PFAS contamination are among the top news stories in Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Gale force winds, hail in forecasts 

Denmark can look forward to blustery weather this week, according to the latest forecasts by the Danish Meteorological Institute. “A grey and wet January is drawing to a close and it looks like the month is slamming the door with a bang,” DMI meteorologist Anesten Devasakayam writes. 

On Monday, January 30th, areas across the country will experience strong winds, Devaskayam says, as well as occasional hail. The wind is expected to keep pace as the week progresses, with brief reprieves on Tuesday and Thursday. 

READ MORE: Essential rain gear for a wet Danish winter (and spring, summer, autumn) 

Government reluctant to inform landowners of possible PFAS contamination 

Opposition parties say it’s unacceptable for the Danish Regions and national government to drag their feet on informing people their land could be contaminated with PFAS, ‘forever chemicals’ linked to health problems including cancer. 

The Regions, which are responsible for environmental cleanups in Denmark, have identified 16,000 plots they suspect are contaminated with PFAS due to industry activity. However, they have yet to inform the people who live there. That’s because the Regions plan to test each plot individually before reaching out — a process that could take decades without a dramatic increase in funding, according to broadcaster DR. 

Food grown in contaminated soil accumulates PFAS, and the Regions have identified many gardens and allotments that might be affected.

“When the Regions have this knowledge, I also think we need to inform the population whether it is their garden or farmland or a kindergarten that is located where there may actually be severe contamination,” Mai Villadsen of the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) told DR. 

READ MORE: PFAS found in organic eggs in Denmark 

Minister of Health: everyone in Denmark should automatically be organ donors 

Currently, Danes have to ‘opt in’ for organ donation —and fewer than one in three do, according to the National Board of Health. 

Health Minister Sophie Løhde contends that Denmark should join many other EU countries that have in recent years switched from opting in to organ donation to opting out. 

She says a ‘soft’ variant of the opt-out system could mean everyone automatically becomes organ donors after they turn 18, but family members still have the final say if the deceased hasn’t made their wishes explicit. 

However, the Danish Ethics Council, a government advisory body, believes in maintaining the opt-in status quo. 

“The right to control oneself and one’s own body is an important principle of health care. Therefore, our recommendation is that we stick to the principles that exist today,” says the council’s Leif Vestergaard. 

You can change your organ donation status here on sundhed.dk. In 2022, 21 patients in Denmark died waiting to receive an organ. 

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