Denmark’s Covid-19 R-number ‘expected to increase’ as daily cases escalate

Denmark set yet another new record for daily Covid-19 cases on Tuesday. The country’s R-number or reproduction rate for the virus is expected to increase.

People wearing face masks at the public library in Aalborg. Denmark registered 8,314 new cases of Covid-19 on December 14th.
People wearing face masks at the public library in Aalborg. Denmark registered 8,314 new cases of Covid-19 on December 14th. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The R-number, a measure of the rate at which Covid-19 is being transmitted in the community, was estimated at 1.1 in the weekly update on Tuesday.

The number, which is unchanged from last week’s value, means the epidemic is growing in the country since it signifies that 10 people with the virus will on average pass it on to 11 others.

It is expected to increase in the short term, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke wrote on Twitter.

That is because of the increasing prevalence of the transmissible Omicron variant, which is expected to become dominant in Denmark this week.

The R-number is also associated with a lag and reflects the transmission situation for the virus around 10 days ago.

Tuesday saw 8,314 new cases of the virus registered by the infectious disease agency State Serum Institute, another new record for the daily total after it was also broken on Monday and three times last week.

The number of daily cases is now four times greater than it was at the beginning of November and 19 times greater compared to early October.

The number of patients admitted to hospital is also showing signs of growing after a period of relative stability. Hospital admissions have not so far increased as dramatically as case numbers, however.

A total of 498 people were admitted to Danish hospitals with the virus on Tuesday. That is twice as many as the beginning of November, and six times more than in October.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Omicron variant expected to dominate in Denmark this week

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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.