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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
File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Parliament agrees four-phase plan for easing of travel restrictions

A parliamentary majority last night backed a plan to lift Denmark’s coronavirus travel restrictions, giving people with loved ones elsewhere in Europe hope that they can now begin counting the days until they are reunited.

Restrictions are to be eased in four phases, beginning on April 21st and reaching completion by June 26th, should everything go to plan.

The plan for easing restrictions, published late on Tuesday by the Ministry of Justice, applies only to countries in the EU and Schengen area. Restrictions for so-called “third countries” outside of this zone will follow the common approach adopted by the EU, which is expected to be renegotiated prior to the summer, the ministry states.

We will report full details of the plan in a separate article this morning.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be delivered

The first delivery of the one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson will arrive in Denmark today, but it is unclear when the inoculations will be put to use after the company yesterday announced a decision to “proactively delay” the rollout of its vaccine in Europe.

That came after extremely rare cases of blood clots combined with low platelet numbers were detected in persons who have received the vaccine in the United States.

The vaccines will initially be stored once they have arrived in Denmark, the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute has confirmed to broadcaster DR.

Leaders of the various political parties are scheduled to meet today to discuss the situation.

Read more on Johnson & Johnson’s decision to delay its European rollout here.

Calls for corona passport rules to no longer apply outdoors

With a number of businesses now open again and restaurants and cafes set to be allowed to offer outdoors serving from next week, Denmark’s rules requiring use of corona passports are now effective. The passports are used to document immunity or from the virus or a recent negative test.

Corona passport: What you need to know about Danish Covid-19 vaccine and test documentation

But the rules could already be set for an update, with a political majority – which outnumbers Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s government – now calling for outdoors services at restaurants not to require corona passports, according to DR.

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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. 

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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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