Three spectators at Denmark-Belgium match test positive for Delta variant

Danish authorities have asked 4,000 football fans to get tested for Covid-19 as soon as possible, after three spectators at last week's Belgium match tested positive for the infectious Delta variant.

Three spectators at Denmark-Belgium match test positive for Delta variant
Three of the fans who watched the Denmark-Belgium match at the Parken stadium have tested postive for the Delta variant. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau ScanpixMads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Patient Safety Authority on Wednesday evening asked all those who were sitting in six sections of the C stands at Copenhagen’s Parken stadium for the match last Thursday to go and get a PCR-test “as soon as possible”, saying that “several spectators have tested positive for the Delta variant”. 

“These three people who were infected during the match, as well as their close contacts and the close contacts of their close contacts have been informed,” Anette Lykke Petri, director of the Danish Agency for Patient Safety, said on Thursday. 

She said the three supporters were infected independently of each other at the game at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium on June 17.

“The three infected people all independently point out that the place of infection has been the match,” Petri told Danish station TV2. “We would like to have screened everyone,” she added. 

Denmark’s health minister, Magnus Heunicke, tweeted only minutes after the Patient Safety Authority,  revealing that the 4,000 fans had been in the six sections judged to be at risk. 

The Delta variant is more infectious than even the Alpha variant which originated in the UK and then went on to become dominant in Denmark. Since 1 April, there have been 235 cases of the Delta variant in Denmark, with it now accounting for about 5.5 percent of all positive cases. Danish health authorities expect it to become the dominant variant within a few months. 

The Danish Patient Safety Authority said at a press conference on Tuesday that there had so far been only 29 coronavirus infections linked to the three Euro2020 matches played on Danish soil, against Finland on June 12th, against Belgium on June 17th, and against Russia on Monday night.  

The World Health Organization on Tuesday said it was concerned about the easing of Covid-19 restrictions by nations
hosting Euro 2020 matches, noting that some were already seeing rising cases.

“WHO is concerned about easing of restrictions in some of the host countries,” Robb Butler, an executive director at WHO’s Regional Office for Europe, said in an emailed statement to AFP.

“A few of the stadiums hosting the tournament are now increasing the number of spectators allowed,” Butler said.

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Denmark’s Covid-19 hospitalisation figure ‘could reach 750’ in December

The number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 in Denmark could increase to 750 this month, according to a projection from an official expert group.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior health officials visit a vaccination centre at Copenhagen Central Station on December 3rd.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior health officials visit a vaccination centre at Copenhagen Central Station on December 3rd. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The expert group for mathematical modelling, which is attached to the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI), released the estimate on Friday.

As of Friday afternoon, 449 patients with Covid-19 are admitted to hospitals in Denmark. The figure has been increasing in recent weeks but is still some way short of the peak hospitalisation figures from the winter 2020 wave, which exceeded 900.

“There are not catastrophic conditions yet but we have a combination of a tangible lack of nurses combined with this strain (of high patient numbers). It is clearly putting pressure on hospitals,” Kasper Karmark Iversen, senior medical consultant and professor at the University of Copenhagen and Herlev-Gentofte Hospital, told news wire Ritzau earlier this week.

The mathematical expert group calculates possible scenarios in which coronavirus restrictions could be phased out.

“The projections show a continued increase in the number of hospitalisations,” said the head of the group, Camilla Holten Møller.

“New hospitalisations of 70-200 per day and 550-750 in hospital (in total) are estimated up to the middle of December,” Møller said.

The figure for new hospitalisations does not account for discharged patients and therefore does not reflect the overall change in the total number of patients in hospital with Covid-19.

The expert group also predicts between 3,400 and 8,300 new cases of the virus daily by the middle of December. The group notes that its projections do not take into account the vaccination drive launched by the government this week. They also only partly account for anti-infection measures already in place, such as Covid-19 health pass (coronapas) requirements and face mask rules.

A total of 4,559 new Covid-19 cases were reported in SSI’s daily update on Friday. The total comes from 196,932 PCR tests, giving a positivity rate of 2.32 percent.

Daily cases have now been over 4,000 for six consecutive days. Friday’s positivity rate is a little lower than the typical rate seen this week, which is closer to 2.50.