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

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
People head for coronavirus tests in Copenhagen's Nordvest area on Saturday. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix
Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Some stores reopen, some students return

Shops with an area of under 5,000 square metres can open their doors to customers today as coronavirus restrictions are eased slightly.

Senior school classes in some areas are among those allowed to attend lessons on person under the new restrictions.

Here’s more detail on the slight easing of restrictions in our report from their announcement last week.

Parents must give permission for children’s Covid-19 tests at schools

Parents must provide written permission for children under the age of 15 to take Covid-19 tests offered at schools, news wire Ritzau reports. Permission only needs to be given once, regardless of how many tests are taken over the coming weeks and months. That is according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.

In the political agreement for partially reopening schools, authorities are asking students over the age of 12 and teachers to take a Covid-19 test twice weekly.

More infectious variant detected in Copenhagen neighbourhood

A number of cases of a more infectious variant of Covid-19 have been detected in the Nordvest (north-west) neighbourhood in Copenhagen. Wide-scale testing has been conducted in the area since Friday, when authorities announced that the B1351 variant had been detected and asked all residents to be tested.

The 14th and 15th cases of the variant were confirmed by health minister Magnus Heunicke on Sunday evening. 

Analyses are undergoing to confirm whether the latest cases are B1351, first detected in South Africa, or P1, first detected in Brazil. The two types share characteristics and are thought to have some resistance to currently available vaccines, Ritzau writes.

Liberal party wants Denmark to cooperate with Assad regime in Syria

Last year, Denmark began withdrawing residency permits from some Syrian refugees from the Damascus area, with immigration authorities now deeming that part of the Middle Eastern country safe for return. Syrian refugees in Denmark who could be returned to the area have spoken about the peril they may face if they are deported back to Syria.

Rejected asylum seekers and others with no legal right to reside in Denmark are normally accommodated at so-called ‘departure centres’ (udrejsecentre) if they do not agree to leave voluntarily and if Denmark has no repatriation arrangement in place with their home country. This is the case for refugees from Syria, because Denmark does not cooperate with or recognise the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The opposition Liberal party appears to be calling for that to change. The party’s immigration spokesman Mads Fuglede told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that the Liberals want “an agreement in which we get Syria to take back its citizens”.

“If Denmark doesn’t think that can be done, we should push for dialogue with the Assad regime at EU level,” Fuglede also said.

The government has already rejected the suggestion and other parties have also pushed back against the Liberals’ apparent willingness to cooperate with Assad, whose regime is responsible for years of atrocities.

In a Facebook post yesterday evening, Fuglede appeared to draw back somewhat on the comments given to Jyllands-Posten.

“I want to stress that the Liberal party does not think Denmark should recognise the Assad regime,” he wrote.

“But we should discuss what to do with all the Syrian refugees in Europe as Syria has become safer around Damascus,” he added.

More anti-lockdown protests over the weekend 

Eight people were arrested in an anti-lockdown demonstration in Copenhagen on Saturday.

Organised by a group calling itself “Men in Black”, the rally of around 1,200 people in the Danish capital was the first since the government announced last week that it was extending many anti-coronavirus restrictions.

The group has previously arranged demonstrations in Aalborg and Copenhagen.  In January one of the protests in Copenhagen included the burning of an effigy of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, leading to the arrest of two men.

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