IN CHARTS: How the Delta Variant is taking off in Denmark

The Delta variant is starting to take off in Denmark, with 117 new cases identified in the 24 hours up until 2pm on Wednesday, bringing the variant's share of cases identified up to 25.5 percent.

IN CHARTS: How the Delta Variant is taking off in Denmark
Grønnemose Skole in the Gladsaxe suburb of Copenhagen had to send home 253 students after one tested positive to the Delta variant. Photo: Google Maps

The variant, which was first identified in India, is growing so fast that it is only a matter of time before Denmark reaches the situation of the United Kingdom where the variant is present in 90 percent of cases.

Denmark on Wednesday registered 340 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily count in more than two weeks.

Grønnemose Skole in Søborg in the Gladsaxe suburb of Copenhagen has sent 253 pupils home to be placed in self-isolation after one of the pupils tested positive for the Delta variant.

READ ALSO: Is Denmark heading for another Covid surge as seen in the UK?

Below is a chart showing how the number of Delta cases has increased week by week since the first case was identified in week 13 (the week starting March 29th

Viggo Andreasen, an associate professor of mathematical epidemiology at Roskilde University and part of the expert modelling group for Denmark’s SSI infectious diseases agency, warned that the Delta would probably lead to further school outbreaks in the autumn term.

“It must be said that the new Delta variant is extremely contagious. Even though children are less contagious, and even though adults around them are vaccinated, it must be expected that the Delta variant can cause major epidemics in schools during the winter,” he told Denmark’s Ritzau newswire.

Delta, he warned, appeared to affect those under the age of 16, who are not yet part of the Danish vaccination program, more seriously.

“What the challenge is going to be is that children and young people might themselves become ill and that some of them might become seriously ill,” he said.

“But they might also infect those among their parents and grandparents who cannot be vaccinated, or for whom the vaccine does not work.”

Below is a chart showing how the share of infections where the Delta variant has been identified has shot up over the past week.

The Delta variant, which was first identified in India, is estimated at being 50 percent more infectious than the already infectious Alpha variant, which was first identified in the UK.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”