‘I simply forgot’: Danish PM apologises for shopping without face mask

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has made a public apology after she was filmed shopping for clothes in central Copenhagen without wearing a face mask.

'I simply forgot': Danish PM apologises for shopping without face mask
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen wearing a mask at a visit to a vaccination centre on Friday. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

Writing on her Facebook page at around midday on Saturday, Frederiksen said that she had failed to take into account the new restrictions that came into force on Monday. 

“Yesterday, I forgot to wear a face mask when I was in a shop in central Copenhagen,” she wrote. “It was simply an oversight after the new rules were introduced, and I only became aware of it after a citizen filmed it.”

“I know this can happen to all of us. Just preferably not to me,” she continued. “I’m sorry, of course, and once again want to thank everyone for everything we all do to keep the infection down.”

Frederiksen made her post after the Ekstra Bladet newspaper published a video of her trying on clothes in the shop without a mask on.

Since Monday, it has been mandatory to wear a mask in shops under new tougher restrictions brought in to reduce the current high rate of infections in Denmark.

READ ALSO: The new Covid-19 rules which take effect in Denmark on Monday

This is not the first time a senior figure in Denmark’s fight against the pandemic has been caught not following restrictions.

In October last year, Søren Brostrøm, Director of the Danish Health Agency, failed to wipe down and disinfect a machine he had used at a fitness centre.

He was just one month later photographed working on a train without a face mask.

Under the new restrictions, those refusing to wear a face mask in a shop can face a fine of up to 2,500 Danish kroner. In the first instance, however, it is the responsibility of shop personnel to remind customers to wear a mask.

The incident heaps more pressure on the prime minister, who faces a parliamentary committee later this week investigating her decision to cull more than 15 million mink last year over fears of a mutated Covid strain.

The order was found to have no legal basis and led to a minister’s resignation. The committee is now investigating if Frederiksen knew there was no law allowing her to impose the measure.

The Danish parliament finally passed an emergency law banning mink farming, devastating a lucrative industry.

Denmark had been the world’s largest exporter of mink skins bred for their delicate fur, and the second largest producer after China.

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Denmark’s autumn Covid-19 strategy to be presented ‘before summer’

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday that the government will soon present a strategy for managing Covid-19 should the virus resurge in Denmark next autumn and winter.

Denmark’s autumn Covid-19 strategy to be presented 'before summer'

Although everyday life in Denmark is now free of any signs of Covid-19 restrictions, a plan will be put in place to manage a potential increase in cases of the virus once colder months return, Frederiksen said during remarks in parliament.

During a speech given as part of the parliament’s closing session before its summer break, Frederiksen noted that the coronavirus still persists in other countries and that Denmark must therefore have its own plan in place for future management of outbreaks.

“The government will therefore, before the summer (holiday), present a strategy for ongoing Covid management. We will discuss it with the other parties in parliament,” she said.

Frederiksen also said that Denmark was among the countries to have coped best with the pandemic.

“We are one of the countries that have had the lowest excess deaths. And one of the countries that has emerged best from the crisis economically. That is thanks to the efforts of each individual citizen in the country,” she said.

A new wave of Covid-19 cases later this year can be expected, according to a Danish medical expert.

“As things look now, we can reasonably hope that the thoroughly vaccinated population will be well protected against serious cases and that we will therefore see few hospitalisations,” Henrik Nielsen, senior medical consultant at Aalborg University’s infectious disease department, told news wire Ritzau.

“But the number of infections could very easily be high in the autumn and winter with a respiratory virus that gives a few days’ sickness. We expected serious cases to be limited in number,” he said.