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COVID-19

Denmark Omicron Covid-19 cases up 484 to exceed 1,200 in total

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Denmark caused by the Omicron variant is now 1,280.

People queue for Covid-19 tests in November 2021. Denmark on December 10th reported a jump in the number of cases caused by the omicron variant.
People queue for Covid-19 tests in November 2021. Denmark on December 10th reported a jump in the number of cases caused by the omicron variant.Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

The figure, reported by national agency State Serum Institute (SSI), is an increase of 484 compared to Thursday.

Denmark registered a total of 6,599 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday. 472 people are currently admitted to hospital with the virus, 12 more than on Thursday.

“The number of Omicron cases has increased sharply since yesterday so things are unfortunately moving fast with transmission at the moment,” SSI director Henrik Ullum said.

“I would therefore again like to strongly encourage everyone who has been invited to be vaccinated to book a test without delay,” Ullum added in a press statement.

Danish health authorities are now able to use PCR tests to confirm the Omicron variant is at play, rather than needing to gene sequence test samples.

Earlier this week, new restrictions were introduced with health authorities stating that Omicron was now being spread in the community, meaning cases are no longer traceable to travel.

BioNTech and Pfizer warned on Wednesday that two doses of its coronavirus vaccine protect less against the Omicron variant, but stressed it was “still effective” after a third jab.       

Omicron has caused global concern over signs that it can transmit faster than previous strains and fears that its multiple mutations could help it evade immune defences provided by vaccines.

In preliminary results published on Wednesday, Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine “is still effective in preventing Covid-19, also against Omicron, if it has been administered three times”.

Scientists from the World Health Organization and the United States government told news wire AFP this week the Omicron variant appeared to be no worse than other coronavirus strains but said more research was still necessary. 

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COVID-19

Covid-19 medicine Paxlovid now available in Denmark

Denmark has received its first supply of Paxlovid, an antiviral treatment for Covid-19.

Covid-19 medicine Paxlovid now available in Denmark

A first stock of Paxlovid, a tablet which can be described by doctors to combat Covid-19 symptoms, has been delivered to Denmark, health authorities confirmed in a statement.

“The first delivery has arrived today and the rest will be delivered continuously during the coming period,” the Danish Health Authority said.

Denmark has purchased 40,000 treatment courses of the medicine.

Doctors decide when to prescribe the medicine, which is suitable for adults infected with Covid-19 who are at risk of serious illness with Covid-19. It is taken over a course of five days when symptoms are still mild.

“Treatment with Paxlovid is for the patients who are at greatest risk of serious illness with Covid-19 and the treatment will be an important part of the future management of Covid-19,” the Health Authority said in the statement.

The arrival of a medicine for Covid-19 does not signal the end of vaccination which remains “the most effective measure to prevent serious illness and death,” it said.

Denmark has purchased the Paxlovid supply through a deal with pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute (SSI) has 2.2 million Covid-19 vaccines which have been in storage for so long that they are no longer usable, news wire Ritzau earlier reported.

The vaccines were purchased when Denmark was acquiring as many as possible during the pandemic but because they are not effective against newer variants of the coronavirus, they can no longer be used.

Another 3.6 million doses in storage at SSI can only be used for the initial two doses for as-yet unvaccinated people – who are now limited in number given Denmark’s high vaccine uptake. This means they are unusable in the current booster programme.

The cost of the 5.8 million vaccines is estimated at between 116 and 783 million kroner.

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