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

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 news on Thursday
Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish parties strike deal to evacuate some Afghan employees

Denmark’s political parties have struck a deal to allow some of the Afghan staff who worked for Danish forces in Afghanistan to be evacuated, with a temporary stay in Denmark of two years. The first 45 staff will be evacuated to Denmark as soon as possible. 

Evacuated former staff will be able to bring their spouses and any children under the age of 18. 

“The security situation in Afghanistan is serious. The Taliban are gaining ground and development is accelerating more than many had feared,” the agreement, which was announced at just before 10pm on Wednesday night.

“We have a common responsibility to help the Afghans who are now threatened due to their connection and contribution to Denmark’s involvement in Afghanistan.”

The agreement was reached between all of Denmark’s parliamentary parties apart from the populist, anti-immigration Danish People Party and New Right Party. 

The right to be evacuated to Denmark extends only to current staff of the embassy in Kabul, and those who have worked for the embassy or Danish Armed Forces over the past two years. 

Those who worked for Danish authorities longer ago will still be able to apply to be evacuated under the existing law on interpreters, which requires that the person seeking evacuation is personally under threat. 

Denmark scraps one-metre rule and area requirements

Denmark has scrapped its one-metre distance requirement, meaning, among other things, that cinemas and churches can fill their seats and pews.

The Danish Health Authority said in a press statement that with over 60 percent of Danish residents now fully vaccinated, it was possible to remove the requirement. 

In a statement, Denmark’s culture ministry said that the change meant the end of the area and distance requirements which had been imposed on cultural institutions, sports, and other associations. 

From August 14th, there will no longer be a requirement for there to be at least two square metres per person in any public room where spectators, visitors, or users gather, or for big events with standing audiences where spectators are separated into sections.

There will also no longer need to be at least one metre or one empty seat between each seated spectator for indoor cultural and sporting events with seated audiences. 

The church ministry, meanwhile, said that the change meant that groups would no longer need to keep a distance of two metres between one another when singing, and that area requirements on churches would be abolished.

Ørsted profits nearly triple on back of sale of windfarm stake

Danish renewable energy giant Ørsted has seen its profits for the first half of the year nearly triple on the back of the sale of a stake in a wind farm in Holland.

The company posted a profit of 7.1bn kroner, three times as much as the 2.5bn profit it posted in the same period last year. 

Ørsted sold a 50 percent stake in the Borssele 1 & 2 offshore farm for 5.4 billion kroner.

Infections reach new highs as health chief calls for shift in focus to deaths 

Denmark registered 1,162 new infections in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Wednesday, the highest number in two weeks. 

It is a pity to see that the infection rate is still relatively high. But what worries me the most is that there is now again a rise in the number of hospital admissions,” said Åse Bengård Andersen, head of the infections clinic at Rigshospitalet. 

But Søren Brostrøm, director of the Danish Health Authority, said that it made less sense to track the infection rate when more than 60 percent of the population, calling for people to look more at the death rate from now on. 

“We have become accustomed to looking a lot at the daily infection rates, but in the future, we will take a much broader perspective [he literally said a helicopter view]. At the Danish Health Authority, we will focus mostly on how many people become ill, particularly among the vaccinated, he told the Politiken newspaper. 

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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?