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METTE FREDERIKSEN

Danish PM suggests country could bring back Covid-19 measures

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen expects Denmark to introduce “initiatives” to slow the current spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Danish PM suggests country could bring back Covid-19 measures
Prime Mette Frederiksen warned via social media of Denmark's likely return to Covid-19 restrictions in some form. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

In statements posted on social media on Sunday, the PM said the measures may be necessary to “hold down infections”.

“We will then prevent hospital admissions,” she added.

The government considers the current trend of infections with the coronavirus in Denmark as of “increasing seriousness and concern”, Frederiksen wrote.

“The disease is again beginning to have more serious consequences for our society and health service. I therefor also expect it to be necessary to have initiatives that can break chains of infection,” she wrote.

The PM meanwhile urged people not yet vaccinated against the virus to “book an appointment now”.

Monday saw the fifth consecutive day with over 2,000 new cases of Covid-19 in Denmark. 2,294 people tested positivite from 102,000, a test positivity rate of 2.25 percent.

Over 300 people are now admitted to Danish hospitals with the virus after that total rose to 303 on Monday. That is the highest number since February 15th.

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In her Facebook and Instagram post, Frederiksen said that unvaccinated people risk spreading the coronavirus to vaccinated people, including those in elderly and high risk groups for serious illness.

The PM did not name specific measures or decisions the government might take to slow the current wave of infections.

Earlier in the pandemic, restrictions included limits on assembly use of facemasks in certain public places and a requirement for a valid Covid-19 health pass (coronapas) to access some services, events or location.

The coronapas is used to document a recent negative Covid-19 test or immunity aganst the virus due to vaccination or recent recovery from infection.

Experts last week called for its reintroduction, along with the use of facemasks, as a way to reduce infections “here and now”.

Health minister Magnus Heunicke late last week asked parliament’s epidemic commission to review the current status of the Covid-19 epidemic in Denmark. Potentially, this could see it upgraded it from “infectious disease” to “critical threat” to society.

The distinction is relevant because Danish law now requires an epidemic to have the latter status for the government to be able to introduce restrictions like face mask mandates, assembly limits and lockdowns, as well as coronapas requirements.

The commission, which includes representatives from health authorities, the police and four ministries, met on Sunday but it is unclear when it will pronounce its position.

Once it the commission has addressed the issue, the parliamentary epidemic committee (udvalg in Danish, not to be confused with the commission, kommission) can discuss whether to reimplement the status of “critical threat”, which was lifted in September this year.

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COVID-19

Covid-19 medicine Paxlovid now available in Denmark

Denmark has received its first supply of Paxlovid, an antiviral treatment for Covid-19.

Covid-19 medicine Paxlovid now available in Denmark

A first stock of Paxlovid, a tablet which can be described by doctors to combat Covid-19 symptoms, has been delivered to Denmark, health authorities confirmed in a statement.

“The first delivery has arrived today and the rest will be delivered continuously during the coming period,” the Danish Health Authority said.

Denmark has purchased 40,000 treatment courses of the medicine.

Doctors decide when to prescribe the medicine, which is suitable for adults infected with Covid-19 who are at risk of serious illness with Covid-19. It is taken over a course of five days when symptoms are still mild.

“Treatment with Paxlovid is for the patients who are at greatest risk of serious illness with Covid-19 and the treatment will be an important part of the future management of Covid-19,” the Health Authority said in the statement.

The arrival of a medicine for Covid-19 does not signal the end of vaccination which remains “the most effective measure to prevent serious illness and death,” it said.

Denmark has purchased the Paxlovid supply through a deal with pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute (SSI) has 2.2 million Covid-19 vaccines which have been in storage for so long that they are no longer usable, news wire Ritzau earlier reported.

The vaccines were purchased when Denmark was acquiring as many as possible during the pandemic but because they are not effective against newer variants of the coronavirus, they can no longer be used.

Another 3.6 million doses in storage at SSI can only be used for the initial two doses for as-yet unvaccinated people – who are now limited in number given Denmark’s high vaccine uptake. This means they are unusable in the current booster programme.

The cost of the 5.8 million vaccines is estimated at between 116 and 783 million kroner.

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