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

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Denmark: A round-up of the latest news on Friday
Lego's new 'Everyone is Awesome' set. Photo: Handout/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

New rules take effect as coronavirus restrictions ease 

Covid-19 restrictions take a new, more lenient form today, as per an agreement announced by the government earlier this week.

The changes allow all sports and cultural facilities yet to open under the previous plan to lift restrictions to return to business. These include the likes of saunas and baths. Education including universities will also fully reopen.

Businesses and education will essentially open fully from today, with the exception of nightclubs and discotheques. Inside areas of attractions like theme parks and zoos (and attractions that are entirely inside, like aquariums) can also reopen. Corona passport and face mask rules remain in place.

The public assembly limit meanwhile increases today from 25 to 50 persons indoors and from 75 to 100 persons outdoors.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s new reopening plan: Here’s what changes on May 21st

Frederiksberg in danger of local lockdown

Although restrictions are easing, Denmark has begun to see a mild rise in coronavirus infections nationally this week. Experts have said this is to be expected given that the reopening process, allowing more people to meet and opening more of society, has been ongoing for some time now.

Frederiksberg, an area within Copenhagen but a separate municipality, is close to the threshold for local lockdown, broadcaster DR reports this morning. The municipality currently has an incidence of 216 cases per 100,000 residents.

READ ALSO: Why is Denmark easing restrictions with Covid-19 infections on mild rise?

Plan for new ‘expulsion centre’ reignites debate over treatment of unwanted foreigners

The government’s plan to open a new expulsion centre on Langeland for foreign nationals with criminal records, announced earlier this week, faced significant pushback from local residents on the island yesterday, as well as from parliament.

Immigration minister Mattias Tesfaye is set to discuss the plan with other parties next week, with the government looking likely to struggle to get majority backing for the plan.

We spoke to two experts about Denmark’s expulsion centres and what the new plan could mean for people who live in them.

Lego celebrates diversity with rainbow-coloured figurines

Danish toy brick maker Lego unveiled a new set of rainbow-coloured figurines on Thursday to celebrate the diversity of its fans and the LGBTQI+ community.

The “Everyone is Awesome” set features 11 monochrome mini figures, each with its own individual hairstyle and rainbow colour.

“I wanted to create a model that symbolises inclusivity and celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love,” set designer Matthew Ashton said in a statement reported by news wire AFP.

US no longer wants to buy Greenland, Secretary of State confirms

The United States wants to strengthen its relationship with Greenland, especially commercially, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday, but stressed that the country’s government, unlike Donald Trump, doesn’t want to buy it. 

Blinken visited the Danish autonomous territory as he ended a four-day trip that included a meeting of the foreign ministers of countries bordering the Artic in Reykjavik.

“I am in Greenland because the United States deeply values our partnership and wants to make it even stronger,” Antony Blinken told reporters including AFP on his final stop of the Arctic tour.

READ ALSO: Danish Arctic military boost welcomed by US Secretary of State

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TODAY IN DENMARK

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 

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