Denmark has ‘no plans’ to delay return to schools despite Covid-19 cases

Denmark’s schools are scheduled to return from the Christmas break on January 5th, having switched to online classes just before the end of the autumn term in response to soaring Covid-19 infection rates.

Danish schools and education minister Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil at an earlier briefing. Denmark does not currently plan to delay the return of schools on January 5th.
Danish schools and education minister Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil at an earlier briefing. Denmark does not currently plan to delay the return of schools on January 5th. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

There are no current plans to change this despite continued high infection numbers during the Christmas holidays, schools minister Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil told newspaper Jyllands-Posten on Tuesday.

“We are, of course, following developments closely and listening to the health authorities, but so far infection numbers, hospitalisations and vaccination rates have not deviated from what we projected before Christmas,” Rosenkrantz-Theil said.

“Therefore, that remains the decision we are looking at,” she added.

The minister did however not that there were no “set in stone” guarantees on whether the plan could be changed.

Schools switched to online classes for the final few days before Christmas on December 15th as part of measures to reduce transmissions of Covid-19.

The national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI) earlier this week called for children in the 5-11-year age group to be vaccinated.

More vaccinations will improve the chances of schools remaining open throughout the winter, the authority said.

Data from the agency on Tuesday showed that 39.5 percent of 5-11-year-olds have received their first dose of the vaccine, while 12,817 or 3.0 percent are fully vaccinated.

The union for teachers, Dansk Lærerforening, earlier told broadcaster DR that it preferred more vaccinations if schools are to be kept open.

READ ALSO: Denmark to give Covid-19 vaccination to children aged 5 to 11

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”