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COVID-19

New Danish Covid-19 restrictions to be discussed amid Omicron outbreak

The Danish government will “work towards” a briefing on Wednesday at which new Covid-19 restrictions could be announced, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities are considering whether to recommend new Covid-19 measures, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in parliament on Tuesday.
Authorities are considering whether to recommend new Covid-19 measures, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in parliament on Tuesday. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The PM’s message came after the record for daily new Covid-19 cases was again smashed on Tuesday and health authorities said the Omicron variant was now being transmitted through society.

Up to now, authorities have been able to trace cases of the new variant to recent travel, but efforts to do this will not continue.

6,324 new cases of the coronavirus were registered on Tuesday, a new record for the pandemic by some distance.

Meanwhile, the Danish Patient Safety Authority said 398 incidences of the Omicron variant had been detected since it was first confirmed in Denmark at the end of November.

“We now have societal spread of the Omicron variant,” Anette Lykke Petri, director of the Danish Patient Safety Authority, said at a briefing.

The Danish Health Authority is no longer asking contacts of contacts, or “third links” to suspected Omicron cases, to isolate, the authority’s director Søren Brostrøm said at the briefing.

There must be “proportionality in what we do” in regard to contact tracing, Brostrøm said.

“Society must be kept open as much as possible through the winter,” he added.

The health director also said there were signs existing Covid-19 vaccines offer protection against serious illness with the Omicron variant, broadcaster DR writes.

Henrik Ullum, head of the national infectious disease agency SSI, said there is “still much we don’t know” about the variant.

Frederiksen said on Tuesday afternoon that the government was “working towards a briefing tomorrow where we can hopefully give a clear message” on new restrictions.

The government must await recommendations from its independent advisory board, the Epidemic Commission, and seek approval of any measures by the representative parliamentary Epidemic Committee, before it can implement restrictions.

As such, a briefing to announce new restrictions is yet to be confirmed as of Tuesday evening.

Frederiksen did not give details of potential measures but said the government would “do all we can to avoid a lockdown like we’ve been through before”.

Earlier on Tuesday, Frederiksen said in parliament on Tuesday that new measures were a possibility given the rapid spread of the variant.

READ ALSO: Dozens more Omicron Covid-19 cases detected in Denmark

“It’s going frighteningly fast. The vaccination effort is therefore now being sped up. Even more Danes must be vaccinated faster. That applies to first, second and third doses,” she said.

“We are following developments very closely several times a day. Authorities are now considering whether further necessary measures are needed. We must and can not let the pandemic run wild in Denmark,” she said.

Health authorities aim to vaccinate 500,000 people weekly from next week.

Over 33,000 new infections (including all variants) were registered last week.

The number of patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 is also being monitored closely according to Frederiksen.

“These are numbers we’re keeping a close eye on. But concerns at the moment revolve primarily around the new variant Omicron, which is spreading quickly,” she said.

Member comments

  1. It’s just ridiculous isn’t it? I thought the Nordics were smart, sensible people, but reading this hysteria in Denmark and Sweden is absurd. I don’t care how many “cases” of Covid there are – how many people are getting very sick? That’s all that matters. All evidence points to Omnicron being the mildest variant yet, but the chooks are running wild.

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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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