What new Covid-19 restrictions could Denmark introduce?

Denmark’s Epidemic Commission is reported to be considering further measures to restrict Covid-19 transmission and parliamentary representatives are scheduled to meet on Friday.

Denmark used assembly limits during Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions in earlier phases of the pandemic but has refrained from reintroducing them in the current wave.
Denmark used assembly limits during Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions in earlier phases of the pandemic but has refrained from reintroducing them in the current wave. File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

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, broadcaster DR reported on Wednesday evening.

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

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, who has confirmed Commission talks are ongoing, said in a written comment to DR that experts and two of the government’s allied parliamentary parties already support new measures.

“The number of confirmed cases of the more transmissible Omicron variant is doubling roughly every other day while we also have record high infection numbers,” Heunicke said.

The number of cases of the Omicron variant increased by 1,512 on Wednesday to reach a running total of 6,047.

Health spokespersons from the various parliamentary parties have been summoned to a meeting on Friday morning for the purposes of “orientation” on the Covid-19 situation, news wire Ritzau reports.

The health spokesperson with the Socialist People’s Party, Kirsten Normann Andersen, confirmed the meeting to Ritzau and said she supported new restrictions, including a temporary suspension of the so-called behandlingsgaranti or treatment guarantee.

The guarantee, provided by the national health system, gives patients the right to be treated within 30 days, if necessary by moving their treatments to a different hospital (including some private hospitals).

Andersen also mooted the possibly of an assembly limit.

“I also think that it could be necessary to make some form of restriction in relation to how many can gather when it is with people we don’t know,” she said.

Denmark used assembly limits during Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions in earlier phases of the pandemic but has refrained from reintroducing them in the current wave, with the exception of a ban on standing concerts for over 50 people.

Andersen did not give a number for any potential limit on assembly but said she would ask Heunicke to look into the question.

She also called for testing to be expanded again in the run-up to Christmas.

“I hope there is a plan for a better testing strategy because that’s what can prevent people from infecting many others,” she said.

READ ALSO: Denmark changes rules for Covid-19 contact tracing

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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.