Denmark registers 23,000 new Covid-19 cases in one day

Denmark recorded 23,228 new cases of Covid-19 in its latest daily totals on Wednesday, breaking the previous record set on Monday by over 7,000.

People queue for Covid-19 tests in Denmark in December 2021. The country registered over 23,000 new cases on December 29th.
People queue for Covid-19 tests in Denmark in December 2021. The country registered over 23,000 new cases on December 29th.Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The figure eclipses the previous record of 16,164, which was set on Monday.

In capital Copenhagen, the seven-day incidence for the virus is 2,465 per 100,000 residents.

Even before the towering figures posted on Wednesday, Denmark was this week to be reported to have the highest reported Covid-19 infection rates in the world.

“The high infection rate today (Wednesday) can be attributed to a higher PCR test activity just after Christmas,” the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI) said in a statement as it issued the latest numbers.

The 23,228 new cases were found amongst 189,512 PCR tests, giving a positivity rate of 12.26 percent. That is considerably higher than earlier in the pandemic but in line with data from Monday and Tuesday this week.

High demand means that authorities are currently giving priority for PCR tests to people with symptoms of the virus or who are close contacts to confirmed cases.

An expert said in response to Wednesday’s figures that “we should all expect to be infected (in Denmark)”.

“When infection numbers are so high, that reflects widespread community transmission,” Henrik Nielsen, professor and senior medical consultant at Aalborg University Hospital’s infectious diseases department, told news wire Ritzau.

“In my view, that means we should all expect to be infected,” Nielsen said.

The total number of persons in hospital with Covid-19 increased by 9 on Wednesday and is now 675. The peak number of admitted patients from the winter 2020 wave reached 964 on January 4th this year, amid far lower infection numbers.

At that time, only a very low percentage of the population had been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“We find a little bit of hope in hospitals not seeing a parallel increase in hospitalisations. But we are starting to get to the level where it begins to hurt,” Nielsen said.

“When you look at the total of admitted patients with and without the vaccine respectively, the risk (of hospitalisation) is five times higher if you don’t have the vaccine,” the senior medical consultant added.

READ ALSO: What are Denmark’s Covid-19 rules for New Year’s Eve?

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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.