Today in Denmark: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

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

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
The DFDS ferry route between Copenhagen and Oslo was also suspended during the early days of the pandemic. Service resumed from June 25th, 2020 (pictured) until January 8th. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix

Ferry service to Norway is back after a six-month hiatus

Danish shipping company DFDS has resumed ferry services between Norway and Denmark, the company announced today.

The service has been suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions since January 8th. The two ferries, known collectively as “the Oslo boats,” will set sail from Nordhavn to Oslo on July 2nd and 3rd, with a stop in Frederikshavn.

“Today is a day of celebration,” said Anne H. Steffensen, CEO of shipping industry organisation Danske Rederier. She hailed the resumption of the Copenhagen-Oslo service as a symbol of the reopening. She hopes Denmark’s ferries and passenger ships will be able to capitalise on a more mobile summer to make up for a slow spring.

Some Covid-19 tests won’t appear in the EU Covid certificate

Certain types of the rapid-result lighting tests for Covid will not be accepted for the EU Covid certificate, wrote the Danish Ministry of Health (Sundhedsministeriet) in a press release

The EU’s list of acceptable tests does not include several Danish providers, including Falck and Copenhagen Medical. Lightning tests (sometimes referred to as antigen tests or lateral flow tests) performed by the provider Carelink, which is listed as a provider on the EU list, will appear in the Covid certificate.

Therefore, the Ministry is encouraging people to have a PCR for travel. As of July 1st, appointments are no longer required for PCR tests. 

Vaccination schedules advanced by 2 weeks

Denmark’s National Board of Health (Sundhedsstyrelsen) has moved up its vaccination schedule by two weeks. 

Denmark aims to have everyone who wishes to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by August 29th. 

The updated vaccine plan means that those between the ages of 30 and 34 will be invited to get the vaccination two weeks earlier than expected and may receive the letter in their e-Boks as early as this or next week.

The new schedule also includes 12- to 15-year-olds, who are expected to be invited to get vaccinated from July 19th.

Children under 16 exempt from showing a Coronapas

The Danish Ministry of Health has stated that from July 2nd, children under 16 are exempt from showing a Coronapas. This extends the maximum age of exempt children from 15 to 16.

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IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.”