Denmark in new Covid-19 record as Omicron cases proliferate

Denmark recorded a record number of new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, with 7,799 confirmed infections in the previous 24 hours. 

Denmark's Covid-19 infection numbers continued to escalate with a new record of 7,799 cases on December 13th.
Denmark's Covid-19 infection numbers continued to escalate with a new record of 7,799 cases on December 13th. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Over a week, the number of cases is also at its highest since the start of the pandemic at 46,189 cases, a jump of more than 50 percent compared to the previous week, according to data from Danish health authorities compiled by AFP.

The cases were found from 185,451 PCR tests, giving a test positivity rate of 4.21 percent. That represents the highest test positivity rate the country has recorded since tests for Covid-19 became freely available.

480 people are currently hospitalised with the virus, an increase of 12 since Sunday.

As of Monday, 3,437 cases of the Omicron variant had been identified in the Nordic country. The figure grew by 966 between Sunday and Monday, 631 between Saturday and Sunday, and 560 between Friday and Saturday.

Infectious disease agency State Serum Institute said in a statement Monday that Omicron could become the dominant variant in Denmark this week.

Health authorities said on Monday a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine would be offered sooner to everyone over 40 to curb the spread of the variant. Around 80.6 percent of the population over five years old has currently received two doses of a vaccine against the coronavirus.

“Due to the new and more contagious Omicron variant the Danish Health Authority has decided to push the third jab for everyone aged 40 and above, so they get the vaccine four and half months after the second jab,” the health authority said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Denmark offers earlier Covid-19 booster jab to over 40s

By reducing the interval of the doses, “we will be able to enter the winter with better protection for those at increased risk of severe disease and increased immunity in the population,” director Søren Brostrøm said.

A third dose is “safe and effective” as soon as three months after the initial vaccine course, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said last week.

The Omicron variant appears to spread faster than the Delta variant, making vaccines less effective but causing less severe symptoms, the World Health Organization said Sunday, while stressing that the data remains patchy. 

In response to the surge in cases, Denmark reintroduced new restrictions last week, closing schools and colleges, curtailing nightlife and promoting remote working. 

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Covid-19: New Danish data indicate subsiding summer wave

A recent increase in the number of Covid-19 infections in Denmark appears to be declining, according to new data issued on Tuesday.

Covid-19: New Danish data indicate subsiding summer wave

The reproduction rate or R-number for the coronavirus is now estimated to be 0.8. A value less than 1.0 indicates a declining epidemic.

The last two weeks have seen the figure estimated at 1.1 and 1.0 as the new BA. 5 subvariant of the Omicron Covid variant became dominant in Denmark.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed the updated number in a social media post and added that samples from sewage water also indicate the virus is now retreating.

“This fits with the picture we are seeing in other countries that have had a wave with BA. 5,” Heunicke wrote.

The observation of the trend in Denmark remains “uncertain” for the time being, he also noted.

University of Copenhagen Professor of Virology Allan Randrup Thomsen called the weekly number “very positive”.

“It seems as though [the subvariant growth] has stabilised,” Thomsen said.

“We’ve been unsure about how it was going with this summer wave and how high it will go,” he said.

People in Denmark can “generally relax and enjoy the summer,” he said.

“But I would still recommend those in vulnerable groups to accept the offer of an extra vaccine booster,” he added.