Covid-19: Omicron variant now dominant in Denmark as infections record broken again

Tuesday saw another new record for daily new cases of Covid-19 in Denmark as health authorities said the Omicron variant is now dominant in the country.

Omicron is now the dominant form of Covid-19 in Denmark, health minister Magnus Heunicke said on December 21st.
Omicron is now the dominant form of Covid-19 in Denmark, health minister Magnus Heunicke said on December 21st. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

A total of 13,558 new cases of the virus were registered by national agency State Serum Institute (SSI), the highest figure throughout the pandemic.

Denmark has repeatedly broken its recorded for daily new cases since the beginning of December.

“SSI’s assessment is that Omicron is already the dominant variant and still spreading,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke wrote on Twitter.

According to SSI, 501 of the new infections occurred in people who have previously had Covid-19. The criteria for this is that they tested positive for the virus at least 60 days ago.

The 13,558 new cases were found from 243,077 tests, giving a positivity rate of 5.58 percent.

The reproduction rate or R-number of the virus is now 1.2, indicating a growing epidemic, Heunicke also tweeted.

An R-number over 1.0 reflects a growth in the pandemic because it means 10 people with the virus will infect at least another 11. The value is an estimate and comprises a lag of around 10 days.

The number of hospitalised patients with the virus is now 554, 27 fewer than Monday’s figure. This may be related to discharges which are often high on Monday and lower on weekends.

New restrictions were introduced on Sunday in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. These include closures of parts of the leisure and entertainment sectors, widened face mask requirements and capacity limits in stores and on long distance public transport.

READ ALSO: Denmark changes Covid-19 isolation rules for close contacts

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Covid-19: Virus remains on downward trend in Denmark in latest report

The number of Covid-19 infections in Denmark is still declining, as has been the trend for some weeks.

Covid-19: Virus remains on downward trend in Denmark in latest report

In addition to confirmed cases, the number of PCR tests administered to check for the virus is also falling. Authorities recently announced that PCR testing capacity would be halved, before a strategy for testing next winter is announced later this year.

The continued falloff in cases was one of the trends noted in a new report from the infectious disease agency, State Serum Institute (SSI). The report is based on data from the most recent week.

During the period covered by the report, the number of new cases of Covid-19 fell by 18 percent, meaning 82 in 100,000 residents of Denmark tested positive for Covid-19.

The number of PCR tests fell by 14 percent during the same period, with around 7,000 tests administered each day.

“Transmission in the community is falling in general and across all age groups,” SSI medical head of department Rebecca Legarth told news wire Ritzau.

The decline in number of new recorded cases may be linked to the reduction in recorded number of hospital patients with a positive Covid test.

Last week saw the number of hospitalised people with Covid-19 fall by 23 percent. Not all people in hospital who have the virus are being treated for it, with their hospitalisation being for other reasons in many cases.

Denmark ended its Covid-19 restrictions in February and March, while health authorities also changed recommendations on when a PCR test should be taken.

In March, the Danish Health Authority changed its recommendations on when people with suspected Covid-19 should be tested for the coronavirus, with testing now only recommended if there is a “special medical reason” for doing so.