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

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 roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Graduates celebrate in Copenhagen, Friday 26 June 2020. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix)

Signs of cautious optimism in latest Covid numbers

The July Covid bump shows signs of leveling off or abating, according to the latest figures from the Danish infectious disease agency the Statens Serum Institute. 

The SSI reported 559 new Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, the lowest since July 10th but still substantially higher than late June, when daily infection rates hovered around 150-250. 

July’s high numbers were “probably the aftermath of the European Football Championships and chains of infection from there,” Thorkild IA Sørensen, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the University of Copenhagen, told Danish news agency Ritzau. 

READ MORE: Danish health officials scold young people as Covid cases continue to rise

“It is so exacerbated by the fact that it is the Delta variant that is dominant,” Sørensen added. 

The contact number – an estimate of how many people each infected person will transmit the disease to – has dipped to 1.0, indicating the pandemic is neither picking up steam nor dwindling. 

The SSI cautions that there is some uncertainty surrounding these latest figures because fewer PCR tests are being conducted than normal. The number of PCR tests administered hasn’t been this low since January 3rd, according to Ritzau. 

After a long streak with no fatalities, Denmark reported three new Covid deaths on Tuesday. 

Nurses’ strike expands

Another 1,215 nurses are set to join the nurses’ strike in August, according to the Danish Nurses’ Council (DSR in Danish). That’s in addition to the 5,000 members of the DSR that have been on strike since mid-June. 

The DSR is striking for fair wages and the reversal of the 1969 civil service reform that critics say placed female-dominated professions at a much lower pay scale than male-dominated roles. 

The nurses’ strike does not affect Denmark’s ability to respond to the pandemic or medical emergencies, the DSR and regional health authorities agree. 

READ MORE: What Denmark nurses’ strike means for you

Decision day: Danish applicants learn whether they’ve been admitted to higher education 

On Tuesday night at midnight, 67,425 applicants learned they’ve earned a spot at one of Denmark’s institutions of higher learning. 

About 80 percent of those admitted were placed in their first-choice school, according to the Ministry of Education and Research.

Unfortunately, 20,000 other applicants were rejected. 

About 10 percent more women were admitted to higher education in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) than in 2019, the Ministry said. In this admissions cohort, 33.8 percent of students in STEM programs are female. 

There are a dearth of applicants to what Denmark considers the four main “welfare educations”: primary teacher, nurse, educator and social worker. 

“Unfortunately, this does not correspond to the great ambitions the government has on behalf of the welfare society,” Minister of Education and Research Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen said. 

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

A rare day of sunshine, a major fire in Copenhagen, and energy companies forced to 'give back' a billion kroner are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Sunshine ahead 

Denmark can look forward to a rare day of winter sun on Friday, according to the latest from the Danish Meteorological Institute. 

DMI meteorologist Klaus Larsen says temperatures will hover above freezing and the wind will be manageable today as the clouds part. 

It will be a brief reprieve, however — the clouds will return promptly for the weekend. Take an hour to sit yourself outside like a potted plant. 

READ ALSO: Why Denmark’s extra grey January can cause winter blues, and what might help

Massive fire in west Copenhagen due to possible explosion 

A “major” fire on Damhus Boulevard took 21 vehicles and 49 firefighters to subdue, according to tweets from the Greater Copenhagen Fire Department. 

The fire broke out in an occupied building currently undergoing renovation, the Fire Department says. A news outlet that was on the scene while the fire was still active reports the emergency began with an explosion, which appears to be corroborated by images of the scene that show debris scattered well away from the building. 

Mads Dam of the Western Copenhagen police told news agency Ritzau that he couldn’t provide any information about the cause of the fire. “It all needs to cool down before our technicians can come in and examine it,” Dam said. 

Tax minister: energy companies owe Danes a billion kroner 

Energy companies will have to fork over 1.2 billion kroner of the last year’s windfall to the Danish treasury, tax minister Jeppe Bruus told business news outlet Finans. 

“We will return that money to consumers in the forthcoming negotiations on inflation relief,” Bruus said. He added that the 1.2 billion kroner sum is a fraction of what was expected to be recovered, which had been estimated at more than 10 billion. 

In September, European Commission announced plans to cap to energy company profits as well as levy collections from fossil energy companies to the tune of 140 billion euros, news agency Ritzau reports. 

READ ALSO: How much will energy cost in 2023 in Denmark compared to 2022?