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

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 Monday
An outside lesson for 6th graders in Randers. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Some pupils return to schools 

Educational institutions take a step back towards normality today. Final year students at schools and upper secondary schools are allowed to return to classes nationally, while students in junior years can also attend outdoor lessons one day a week. Folk high schools (højskoler) and residential schools (efterskoler) for young people are also allowed to reopen.

The changes were announced by the government last week, with infection rates at a low enough level to broaden school openings, authorities said.

READ ALSO: Older pupils across Denmark to return to school for outdoor lessons

Larger shops with areas of over 5,000 square metres can also reopen from today, provided they limit customer numbers to 250 on their premises at one time. Previously, such stores were required to use an appointment system. That rule now only applies to stores over 10,000 square metres. Essential shops like supermarkets are exempted from these rules.

Danish coronavirus vaccine commences clinical trials

The first group of people to receive a Covid-19 vaccine developed in Denmark have been given the jab in a clinical trial in the Netherlands, broadcaster DR reports.

The small group of 42 people are taking part in the first of three phases of clinical trials which candidate vaccines are normally put through before being considered for general approval. The second and third phases are conducted on much larger groups.

National charity event suffers after switching from door-to-door to digital

Charity Folkekirkens Nødhjælp (DanChurchAid) collected a record-low amount last weekend after dropping its usual door-to-door annual fundraiser for a Covid-safe digital version, DR writes.

The event was also held online in 2020.

A total of 4.2 million kroner was reportedly raised this year – a 60 percent decrease compared with pre-corona totals.

“The result is both what we feared and expected. It’s impossible to replace the physical meeting between people, even with the newest and smartest digital solutions,” the organisation’s general secretary Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen told DR.

Spring weather could be on the way this week

Small signs of spring are expected this week, according to the latest forecast from national meteorologist DMI.

“Overall it will be quite cold. But the sun has the power now, so when it comes out and warms things up it could feel quite like spring,” DMI meteorologist Mette Wagnertold news wire Ritzau.

Mixed weather is forecast for much of the week, with clouds and showers taking turns with sunnier spells.

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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