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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

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

Denmarks Crown Princess Mary tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. No other cases have been reported in the royal family.
Denmarks Crown Princess Mary tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. No other cases have been reported in the royal family.Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Epidemic commission to consider new Covid-19 measures

The Epidemic Commission, the independent advisory board which advises the government on Covid-19 restrictions, is considering whether new measures are necessary as case numbers continue to escalate.

The daily record for new cases has been broken frequently during the last two weeks, most recently yesterday with 8,773 new cases registered.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed in a written comment to broadcaster DR that experts and two of the government’s allied parliamentary parties supported new measures, which could include an assembly limit.

We’ll report any developments as they are announced.

Universities move exams online

Universities have been given the go ahead to switch exams online, avoiding the need for students to attend exam halls amid high Covid-19 infection rates.

Students had raised concerns about sharing a space with up to hundreds of others, given the current situation with the virus.

“We expect to switch some exams and are currently looking into which ones will be moved,” University of Copenhagen deputy director Rie Snekkerup said to DR.

Teachers hit by high Covid infection levels

Teachers at schools, colleges and other educational institutions are amongst those registering particularly high levels of Covid-19 infection, according to official data reported by trade union publication 3F.

Almost 2,400 teachers tested positive for the coronavirus last week, equivalent to 1,137 people per 100,000 teaching staff.

That is a significantly higher proportion than all other sectors – even the healthcare sector, which had peak infection rates in December last year of 718 per 100,000 workers.

Sweden rolls out new travel restrictions ahead of Christmas holidays

Sweden is set to introduce travel restrictions from the Nordic countries ahead of Christmas as both Denmark and Norway suffer higher case numbers than their neighbour.

From December 21st, people travelling to Sweden from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland will be required to show a valid Covid pass, reports Swedish news agency TT.

“We’re seeing an increased spread of infection in Europe but also in our neighbouring countries, and in Sweden a Covid pass is currently required for entry from all countries apart from the Nordics,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told TT on Thursday.

Denmark to rent 300 prison cells from Kosovo

Denmark plans to rent from Kosovo prison cells for 300 inmates due to be expelled at the end of their sentences, the Danish government said Wednesday.

The project, which seeks to ease prison overcrowding, will also see Denmark’s prison estate expanded by 326 places between 2022 and 2025, the justice ministry said in a statement.

In 2020, some 350 inmates were due to be deported at the end of their sentences. 

Denmark’s prison population has grown 19 percent since 2015, reaching more than 4,000 inmates at the start of 2021, exceeding 100 percent of capacity according to official statistics.

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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Growing support for a new Danish 'nature law,' the EU recycling shakeup, and an update on government negotiations are among the top news stories in Denmark on Wednesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

Blue parties throw support behind Danish ‘nature law’ initiative 

Protected nature areas make up just 2.3 percent of Denmark’s territory, according to a new report from the Danish Biodiversity Council. Two conservative ‘blue bloc’ parties — the Conservatives and Liberal Alliance — tell newspaper Politiken they’d support a new law to increase that underwhelming percentage. 

During the election campaign, four left-of-centre ‘red bloc’ parties — the Socialist People’s Party, the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre), the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), and Alternative — suggested the Danish Biodiversity Council draft a bill to bring Denmark in line with a European Union target of 30 percent protected nature with 10 percent strict protections, newswire Ritzau writes. 

Of the entire European Union, Denmark devotes the second-highest proportion of its territory to agriculture, making carveouts for nature more challenging. 
READ MORE: Here are Denmark’s 15 most beautiful natural areas 

Danish Waste Association: EU commission’s recycling initiatives would give Denmark a boost 

A leaked draft from the EU Commission reveals plans to require a certain percentage of post-consumer plastic in new packaging, Ritzau reports. The Danish Waste Association, which represents municipal and private waste companies, say the policy changes would represent an important step toward a true “circular economy” of plastic. 

“We can collect as much packaging waste as citizens have sorted,” says Danish Waste Association Niels Toftegaard. “But if the supermarkets and packaging manufacturers don’t want to use it in new packaging, or invest in the necessary technology to turn old package into new, we will never get a circular economy.” 

Meanwhile, the Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri), an association representing the interests of Danish businesses and employers, says it expects companies will struggle to find enough high-quality recycled plastic in Denmark and Europe.

The full EU Commission proposal is expected to be presented November 30th. 

READ MORE: Denmark throws away too much plastic, recycling could save millions: report

Poulsen: no movement on ‘broad government’ negotiations

Søren Pape Poulsen, leader of the Conservative party, says Denmark is “neither further from nor closer to a government” across the centre aisle after the party’s most recent negotiation with Mette Frederiksen and the Social Democrats. 

“Everyone knows that labour market reforms are needed, but so much else is needed. And what should it look like? We all know that health reform is needed, education reforms are needed, and more free choice is needed,” Poulsen told Ritzau. 

“You can’t just sit and design that in an hour and a half, and so of course we talk about what those principles are. And wherever we end up” — referring to whether the Conservatives join the government — “we want to help influence that process,” he said.

READ MORE: What do Danish Liberals want from government negotiations?