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METTE FREDERIKSEN

Five key things Danish PM said about country’s coronavirus situation

During a briefing on Monday evening, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stressed key government messages relating to the current status of the Covid-19 epidemic in Denmark.

Danish PM Mette Frederiksen had a clear message for unvaccinated people in Denmark during a press briefing on November 8th.
Danish PM Mette Frederiksen had a clear message for unvaccinated people in Denmark during a press briefing on November 8th. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

Frederiksen on Monday announced the government would reintroduce requirements to show a valid coronapas (Covid-19 health pass) at bars, restaurants and some events.

During the briefing, Frederiksen and other senior officials confirmed the decision and underlined a number of other messages related to the Covid-19 situation as Denmark enters late autumn.

READ ALSO: Danish parliament expected to green-light return of coronapas

Frederiksen urges unvaccinated to get a jab

The prime minister did not mince words as she stressed the importance of vaccination in keeping infections and pressure on hospitals at bay.

Frederiksen, along with Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, Danish Health Authority director Søren Brostrom and Henrik Ullum, head of the national infectious disease agency SSI, all pointed out Denmark’s high vaccination rate while saying it also needs to be higher.

“It can’t be said clearly enough. Those of you who are not yet been vaccinated: do so,” Frederiksen said.

Data clearly shows lower infection rates and lower hospitalisation rates, and less time spent in hospital with Covid-19 for people who are vaccinated, she said.

“For all of you who are not vaccinated, (things) are going to become more difficult. And that’s also how I think it should be,” she added with reference to incoming coronapas requirements.

Denmark currently has a Covid-19 vaccination rate of just over 75 percent.

Government does not expect new lockdown

A new national lockdown echoing those put into place in March and December 2020 is not an eventuality the government is working towards, Frederiksen said on Monday.

“We are considering to a greater degree what we can do to stop the views small group of unvaccinated people have on the vaccine from ruining everything for the vast majority,” she said when asked about the potential for lockdowns.

The PM did not go into further details as to what that would entail.

Elevation of Covid-19 to “critical threat” status

The government supports upgrading Covid-19 to the status of “critical threat to society”, following a recommendation from the advisory Epidemic Commission and reversing move in September which saw the status of the virus downgraded and earlier restrictions lifted. 

The commission includes representatives from health authorities, the police and four ministries.

A disease is considered a “critical threat” when it threatens the functions of society as a whole, by for instance, overwhelming the health system.

In such instances, the government can impose bans on people gathering, close schools, demand Covid-19 passes, and mandate use of face masks, provided a parliamentary majority does not oppose this.

“We cannot let the virus run wild in Denmark,” Frederiksen said.

Return of coronapas

The government on Monday wants to reintroduce rules requiring a valid coronapas at bars, restaurants, nightclubs and large events, amid surging cases of the coronavirus in Denmark.

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

The health pass will also be required at indoor events with over 200 spectators and outdoors events with over 2,000 spectators.

The period for which earlier infection can form the basis for a valid coronapas will be reduced from 12 months to 6 months, Heunicke said during the briefing.

Rules requiring the pass will apply to those over the age of 15, in a change from the earlier minimum age of 16.

Parliament is expected to give the necessary backing for the move.

Upcoming local elections get Covid-19 safety focus

Provisions to cast a ballot outdoors will be made available at next week’s municipal and regional elections.

Frederiksen said outdoors voting would be offered at poll stations across the country for the November 16th elections. She also said poll stations would ensure adequate cleaning and that hand sanitizer was available.

“You are also welcome to bring a facemask and your own pen, if you are most comfortable with this,” the prime minister said.

Over 400,000 foreign nationals, including non-EU citizens, are eligible to vote in the local elections.

READ ALSO: How to vote as a foreign resident in Denmark’s local elections

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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