Denmark extends ‘critical threat’ status of Covid-19

Denmark on December 8th extended the
Denmark on December 8th extended the "critical threat" status of Covid-19 by four weeks, giving the government more reach to introduce social restrictions against the virus. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix
Covid-19 will be considered a ‘critical threat to society’ in Denmark for an additional eight weeks after parliament agreed on the extension on Wednesday.

The disease was earlier given the high-threat status between March and September this year, before it was downgraded as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

Last month, it was again upgraded to being a critical threat as the number of cases of the virus began to increase.

At the time, a one-month expiry was set on the status by political parties, outflanking the government, which wanted to set the status for four months.

With that initial month about to expire, a further eight-week extension was agreed on Wednesday, according to news wire Ritzau.

The categorisation of Covid-19 as a “critical threat” is important because it impacts the ability of the government to introduce restrictions aimed at curbing spread of the virus.

When a disease is considered a “critical threat”, the government can impose restrictions such as bans on people gathering and school closures, mandate use of face masks, and demand Covid-19 passes, provided a majority in parliament’s epidemic committee does not oppose this.

READ ALSO: Why is ‘critical threat’ status of Covid-19 important in Denmark? 

It is the epidemic committee which on Wednesday voted for the eight-week extension of the current status. In general, conservative opposition parties are more reluctant to keep the critical threat status in place for longer periods without review, because it gives extended powers to the government.

The government has called a press briefing at 6:30pm on Wednesday, at which additional coronavirus measures are expected to be announced.

New measures come as the Omicron variant continues to spread in Denmark and record numbers of cases are registered. Wednesday saw 6,629 cases registered by official agency SSI, the second consecutive day a new a record has been set for the pandemic in Denmark.

557 cases of the Omicron variant have now been detected.

“We now have societal spread of the Omicron variant,” Anette Lykke Petri, director of the Danish Patient Safety Authority, said earlier this week.

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