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: Danish authorities ’not concerned’ after new subvariant detected

A new subvariant of Covid-19 has been detected in Denmark. Health authorities say they are monitoring the situation.

Covid-19: Danish authorities ’not concerned’ after new subvariant detected

The new variant was first detected in India around three months ago and has now been detected in Denmark for the first time with two confirmed cases, news wire Ritzau reports.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed the variant had been found in Denmark in a Twitter post on Saturday.

The variant, BJ.1, is a subvariant of the existing Omicron form of the coronavirus and was first registered in India on July 2nd. It has since been detected in four other countries.

“Two cases of the new Covid-19 subvariant BJ.1 have been found in Denmark,” Heunicke wrote.

“It is completely expected that BJ.1 would appear in Denmark and the State Serum Institute [national infectious disease control agency, ed.] is not currently concerned but is following the situation closely,” he said.

It is currently unclear whether BJ.1, also termed BA.2.10.1, can be expected to cause more serious symptoms than the current dominant form of Omicron.

“BJ.1 has more mutations to the spike protein than subvariants of the dominant BA.5, but the importance of these mutations is not known for certain,” Heunicke wrote.

The most recent infection trends report, issued last week by the State Serum Institute, stated that infection numbers in people aged 60 and over had increased during the preceding week. Infection numbers have been otherwise stable in all age groups in recent weeks.

Denmark currently only recommends a PCR test for Covid-19 for people at risk of serious illness who suspect they have the virus.

Last week’s infection trends report noted that BJ.1 was yet to be detected in Denmark.