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TODAY IN DENMARK

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

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 Friday
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Covid-19 no longer a “critical threat to society”

Today sees Covid-19 officially reclassified by Danish authorities. The coronavirus has since the beginning of the pandemic had the status of “critical threat to society”, or samfundskritisk sygdom, giving the government legal powers to impose bans on people gathering, demands for Covid-19 passes, and demands for face masks.

Covid-19 was first rated a samfundskritisk sygdom on March 10th last year, meaning it is being downgraded after exactly one and a half years.

The coronavirus will continue to be rated an alment farlig sygdom, “dangerous to public health”, and a “smitsom sygdom”, an infectious disease, both of which give the government and health authorities additional powers to test people and collect and share health data. 

Final Covid-19 restrictions lifted 

Few Covid-19 restrictions are still in place, with the majority of those left after the summer lifted at the beginning of this month.

People visiting nightclubs will no longer need to show a valid coronapas (or a negative test result, proof of vaccination or proof of immunity due to prior infection). This requirement was lifted for restaurants, bars and gyms on September 1st, and nightclubs now join that list.

That leaves travel rules as the only Covid-19 restrictions now in effect in Denmark. Tests for the virus are also still widely available.

Business organisation critical of English-language education closures 

As many as 4,000 places on 87 different English-language study programmes are to close from next year.

The closures are the result of a widely-backed political deal, passed in June, aimed at reducing Denmark’s spending of its state student grant, SU, on foreign students who can claim it through EU nationality.

The Confederation of Danish Industry, DI, has spoken out against the decision in an interview with newspaper Jyllands-Posten published today, arguing it will cost Denmark money in the long term by making it more difficult for businesses to fulfil hiring needs.

We’ll have more detail in an article later today.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark have so many job vacancies?

Business minister to speak to press on proposed reforms

Business minister Simon Kollerup will today brief press on the proposed welfare forms first presented by the government on Tuesday this week.

Most of the discussion of the proposal has so far revolved around the changes to unemployment insurance. Kollerup’s briefing is expected to focus on five initiatives aimed at businesses.

READ ALSO: What do Denmark’s proposed welfare reforms mean for foreign residents?

Travel rules could be updated 

Any changes to the Danish foreign ministry’s current Covid-19 travel guidelines are normally announced on Friday afternoon. This can include updates to the colour designation of countries or regions on Denmark’s traffic light system, which determines the restrictions for entry from abroad (if any apply).

We’ll report changes on our website should any be announced.

READ ALSO: Denmark changes United States to orange in updated Covid-19 travel guidelines

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Gale force winds and hail, 'automatic' organ donation, and whether to inform landowners of possible PFAS contamination are among the top news stories in Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Gale force winds, hail in forecasts 

Denmark can look forward to blustery weather this week, according to the latest forecasts by the Danish Meteorological Institute. “A grey and wet January is drawing to a close and it looks like the month is slamming the door with a bang,” DMI meteorologist Anesten Devasakayam writes. 

On Monday, January 30th, areas across the country will experience strong winds, Devaskayam says, as well as occasional hail. The wind is expected to keep pace as the week progresses, with brief reprieves on Tuesday and Thursday. 

READ MORE: Essential rain gear for a wet Danish winter (and spring, summer, autumn) 

Government reluctant to inform landowners of possible PFAS contamination 

Opposition parties say it’s unacceptable for the Danish Regions and national government to drag their feet on informing people their land could be contaminated with PFAS, ‘forever chemicals’ linked to health problems including cancer. 

The Regions, which are responsible for environmental cleanups in Denmark, have identified 16,000 plots they suspect are contaminated with PFAS due to industry activity. However, they have yet to inform the people who live there. That’s because the Regions plan to test each plot individually before reaching out — a process that could take decades without a dramatic increase in funding, according to broadcaster DR. 

Food grown in contaminated soil accumulates PFAS, and the Regions have identified many gardens and allotments that might be affected.

“When the Regions have this knowledge, I also think we need to inform the population whether it is their garden or farmland or a kindergarten that is located where there may actually be severe contamination,” Mai Villadsen of the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) told DR. 

READ MORE: PFAS found in organic eggs in Denmark 

Minister of Health: everyone in Denmark should automatically be organ donors 

Currently, Danes have to ‘opt in’ for organ donation —and fewer than one in three do, according to the National Board of Health. 

Health Minister Sophie Løhde contends that Denmark should join many other EU countries that have in recent years switched from opting in to organ donation to opting out. 

She says a ‘soft’ variant of the opt-out system could mean everyone automatically becomes organ donors after they turn 18, but family members still have the final say if the deceased hasn’t made their wishes explicit. 

However, the Danish Ethics Council, a government advisory body, believes in maintaining the opt-in status quo. 

“The right to control oneself and one’s own body is an important principle of health care. Therefore, our recommendation is that we stick to the principles that exist today,” says the council’s Leif Vestergaard. 

You can change your organ donation status here on sundhed.dk. In 2022, 21 patients in Denmark died waiting to receive an organ. 

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