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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Director of the State Serum Instituete Henrik Ullum during a press briefing on the Covid-19 situation in Denmark on Decmber 7th. Photo:
Director of the State Serum Instituete Henrik Ullum during a press briefing on the Covid-19 situation in Denmark on December 7th. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

New Covid-19 restrictions expected to be announced

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

A press briefing has since been scheduled for 6:30pm today. We’ll report any announcements on our website.

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.

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”.

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

Health minister tests positive ahead of EU Covid talks

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke was self-isolating in a Brussels hotel yesterday after he came to the EU capital for talks on the Covid-19 pandemic only to test positive himself.

The Danish health ministry said had taken a test early in the day, before his planned meeting with his 26 European Union counterparts.

From his room, Heunicke sent a personal Facebook message, confirming that he had previously been double vaccinated and has only “mild symptoms with primarily a sore throat”.

“For me it’s first and foremost about making sure I do not become part of a chain of infection that strikes others,” he said.

Record number of vacancies in private sector

The number of job vacancies in the private sector hit a new record in the third quarter of 2021.

A total of 59,500 vacancies, reported by Statistics Denmark, represents an increase of 6,200 compared to the preceding three months and is also the third consecutive quarter to set a new record.

“Since the reopening [after coronavirus restrictions, ed.], the appetite of businesses for new staff has been almost unsatiable,” Niklas Praefke, chief economic analyst with business leaders’ interest organisation Ledernes Hovedorganisation, told news agency Ritzau.

West Copenhagen Police extend stop and search zone after shootings

Police in the western district of Copenhagen have extended an ordinance zone, known as visitationszone in Danish, in parts of the Rødovre and Herlev areas.

The stop and search zone was first implemented on Friday, but a shooting outside of the original zone two nights ago resulted in a fatality, media including broadcaster DR reported.

The ordinances allow police to stop anyone within a predetermined area and search them for weapons without having probable cause. They also apply to searches of cars.

Police in Copenhagen regularly resorted to the zones during an extended spell of gang-related shootings in 2017.

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Danish teens cycling drunk and losing control, the party hoping to decriminalise drugs, and teen cannabis dealers in Christiania are among the top news stories in Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

One in three Danish teens bike so drunk they lose control 

Nearly thirty percent of Danish teens age 16-19 admit to riding their bike “even if they were so drunk that they had difficulty steering,”  according to research by the Danish Road Safety Council (Rådet for Sikker Trafik) and reported by newswire Ritzau. 

“We are well aware that we cannot get all young people to stop cycling after drinking alcohol. But we want to stop those who are most drunk,” Morten Wehner of the Danish Road Safety Council wrote in a press release. 

Doctors at Rigshospitalet, Denmark’s largest hospital, say they’re woefully familiar with the dangers cycling drunk poses to young people. 

“They risk serious injuries, such as skull fractures or bleeding in the brain, which can cost them their health or, in the worst case, their lives,” Emily Øberg, a trauma manager at Rigshospitalet, wrote. “They can have internal bleeding, which can also be life-threatening and require emergency surgery.” 

READ MORE: ‘The Vikings also wore helmets’: Danes draw on marauding past for cycle safety ad

Young cannabis dealers in Christiania worry residents 

Residents of Christiania, the autonomous commune in downtown Copenhagen, say they’re as alarmed as police are to see teenage drug dealers on their streets — but insist it can’t fall to members of the public in Christiania to police their neighbours. 

Between September 1st to November 21st alone, 17 minors were charged with selling euphoric drugs in Christiania, newspaper Berlingske reports. 

“Previously, Christianites would have intervened and shouted at them, but now we can see that 15-16-year-olds are behind the stalls, without anything happening,” Copenhagen police inspector Tommy Laursen told Berlingske. 

Hulda Mader, a Christiania spokesperson, says responsibility falls squarely on Copenhagen police — “the intensive efforts made by the police last year [to increase criminalisation of cannabis, ed.]  have meant that the cannabis market has gone from bad to worse,” she said to Berlingske. 

As Mader describes it, “more humane and decent pushers” have been supplanted by gangs. “It is a societal problem and not a Christiania problem.” 

“I don’t know what other neighbourhoods in the country ask people to go out and try to make sure that crime doesn’t happen. You don’t do that,” Mader added. 

Moderates push to decriminalise drugs for personal use

Centrist party the Moderates (Moderaterne) have announced a desire to decriminalise drugs for personal use and refocus police efforts on dealers, Berlingske reports.

 “Criminalisation is stigmatisation, which means that the stigmatised go under society’s radar and do not seek help,” Moderate member of parliament Nanna Gotfredsen told Berlingske. “This entails the risk of all kinds of diseases, amputations of arms and legs, overdoses and so on.” 

Under Danish law, drug use is not directly criminal, but it is a crime to possess drugs, regardless of whether it is for personal use or because you intend to sell them to others, Ritzau writes.

READ MORE: Five laws foreigners in Denmark are bound to break