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

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 Thursday
Queen Margrethe awarded a so-called 'dagger of honour' to a number of military officers at Amalienborg Palace on Wednesday. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

German border crossings to reopen 

Police in South Jutland are to ease restrictions on the border with Germany, meaning that a number of crossings that have been shut off during the coronavirus pandemic will be open again.

A total of 13 smaller crossings will be open again from tomorrow, broadcaster DR reports. They have been closed since February 20th.

“We are very pleased about this. It’s been an obstacle – both for our own citizens but also from those from the south,” Henrik Frandsen, the mayor of border town Tønder, told DR.

Denmark still has entry restrictions in place, although less strict rules are applied to people who live in border areas.


Opposition party leader wants faster reopening plan 

Denmark should speed up its current plan to lift coronavirus restrictions, says the leader of the Liberal party Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. The centre-right Liberals are the largest party in opposition.

Ellemann-Jensen wants the phase of restrictions currently scheduled to take effect on May 21st to be pushed forward to May 6th.

Under the current plan, on May 6th concert venues, theatres and cinemas will be allowed to open. The public assembly limit indoors, currently 10 persons, will further increase to 25 people, while the outdoor assembly limit will increase to 75.

The following phase of reopening on May 21st sees the limit go up again, to 50 persons indoors and 100 outdoors. Meanwhile all sports, leisure and association-based activities not permitted in previous rounds reopen, if infections are still controlled.

“We are in a favourable situation and we should all be happy about that. But we should also react and not pretend the world is not how it is,” Ellemann-Jensen said.

Discussion will take place in parliament today which could see changes to the current reopening plan. The discussions are provided for by the plan itself, and are scheduled on a regular basis to clarify a need to either speed up or slow down reopening as the spring progresses.

READ ALSO: What changes about life in Denmark in May 2021?

Danish ministers visit Rwanda to sign mysterious agreement

The immigration minister Mattias Tesfaye and international development minister Flemming Møller Mortensen travelled to Rwanda this week to sign an agreement of some form with the Rwandan government.

The trip has not been publicised by Copenhagen, but the ministers could be seen in photos tweeted by Rwanda’s foreign ministry.

It appears the agreement relates to asylum and migration issues, leading speculation in Denmark to suggest the government is planning an offshore reception centre for refugees in the African country.

That remains no more than pure speculation for now, since both Tesfaye and Mortensen have so far refused to comment, according to DR.

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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