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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

A Dane going to space, beefing up the Danish navy, and increasing Covid cases are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday
Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen will spend six months on the International Space Station. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Ritzau Scanpix

Covid cases increase as holidays end

The number of positive PCR tests in Denmark is again on the rise with people returning to work and school after summer holidays, according to the latest data from the State’s Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease agency.  

From the last week of July to the first week of August, cases rose 18 percent, while the positive percentage grew to 27 percent. 

“Activity in our society is increasing, and people may also be more aware of getting tested for symptoms in connection with starting work and education,” says Tyra Grove Krause, professional director of the SSI. 

Central and North Jutland have seen the highest overall infection rates, while nationwide 40-59 year olds are seeing the most positive tests. 

Data on incidence rates are more likely to be an underestimate given Denmark’s dramatically reduced public testing program, which saw all quick test sites and all but a handful of PCR test sites shuttered in the spring. On August 15, authorities further restricted guidelines for who should be tested if they experience Covid symptoms — now, the official guidance is that testing is only recommended for people who are 65 years old or over, pregnant, or have a condition that causes a higher risk of sever outcomes for Covid-19. 

Danish astronaut announces mission to space 

Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen will spend six months at the International Space Station as part of Mission Huginn — named after one of two ravens from Norse mythology that flew around the world to gather news for the god Odin.

Instead of news of the world, Mogensen will be gathering information about “sleep and well-being in space” as well as attempt to 3D print metal components, all essential for potential longer-term space travel to destinations like Mars. 

Denmark to strengthen naval fleet with eye to Russia 

Defense minister Morten Bodskov announced a significant investment in the Danish navy on Thursday.

Over the next 20 years, 40 billion kroner will be spent to upgrade the Danish fleet. “We are facing a serious situation in Europe. There is war in Europe. We have just been through a corona pandemic, and common to both is that it has created problems for our security of supply,” Bodskov told reporters, according to newswire the Agence France-Presse. 

“It is not viable, especially in times of war in Europe, for the Danish defence to have problems getting ships and other equipment built,” he added. “That is why we are taking action now” with industry partners to build our own warships. 

READ MORE: From June: Russian warship violates Danish waters

Danish politicians may visit Taiwan 

Members of Danish parliament from six political parties are ready to travel to Taiwan after a possible election this autumn, newspaper Politiken reports. 

“Taiwan must not be isolated in the way that China wants it to be. They must not succeed in that,” Michael Aastrup Jensen, foreign affairs spokesman for the Liberal party (Venstre) told Politiken. 

The six parties that have signed on to a possible trip are the Conservatives, the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), the Social Liberals (Radikale), the Danish People’s Party, the Liberal party, and the new Danish Democrats party. 

However, some, including Socialist People’s Party foreign affairs spokesman Karsten Hønge, say stirring the pot in Taiwan could cause more harm than good. 

READ MORE: From 2019: Copenhagen Zoo removes Taiwan from display map to get loan pandas from China 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Possible blackouts in Denmark this winter, a significant gas leak off Bornholm, and the health minister's answer to concerns about Covid vaccine underdosing are among the top news stories in Denmark on Tuesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Electricity blackouts possible in Denmark this winter 

The Danish Energy Agency sees an increased risk that private customers will have their power temporarily cut off — depending on the weather. 

“If we now hit a very hard, cold winter, and the wind is calm at the same time, so we don’t have energy from the wind turbines, then we will be in a place where we have a stressed energy system,” agency director Kristoffer Böttzauw told broadcaster DR. 

However, current weather forecasts suggest the situation isn’t likely to be that dire. Brian Vad Mathiesen, professor of energy planning at Aalborg University, told DR that he considers such shutoffs unlikely. 

The authorities can usually tell about a day in advance if demand is likely to exceed supply, giving them time to make large consumers — on industrial scales — cut down, Ritzau reports. 

But if authorities aren’t successful, there could be blackouts for private customers. They would last two hours at a time for specific areas across the country, and customers aren’t notified in advance. 

READ MORE: Danish heating company asks customers not to turn on heating

Gas leak in Russian pipe off coast of Denmark 

Nord Stream 2, an underwater pipeline created to run gas from Russia to Germany that was shut down before becoming operational, appears to have sprung a leak after an unexplained pressure drop within the pipe. 

Authorities have spotted a “large bubble field near Bornholm”, a Danish island in the Baltic, Nord Stream 2 spokesman Ulrich Lissek told the Agence France-Presse.

Preliminary assessments suggest environmental damage in the area of the leak. 

On Tuesday morning, the Swedish Maritime Administration reported that two additional leaks have been found on sister pipeline Nord Stream 1 — one in Danish waters and another in Swedish territory, but both northeast of Bornholm. 

READ MORE: Germany and Denmark investigate Russian pipeline pressure drop 

Health minister to address Covid vaccine underdosing 

Magnus Heunicke, the Danish minister of health, has convened Parliament’s health rapporteurs to discuss the possibility that millions of people vaccinated for Covid in Denmark received too low a dose. 

An investigation by DR, partnering with the Danish Technological Institute, suggests that instructions provided by Danish health authorities in the hopes of stretching the limited supply of vaccines led to 10 percent underdoses of Pfizer-BioNTech shots. 

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