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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday

What it will take for Denmark to avoid Covid spikes this winter, record-breaking chlamydia, and how the pandemic impacted prescriptions of antibiotics are among the top news stories in Denmark on Wednesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Wednesday
Current predictions suggest hospitalizations for Covid-19 will level off this winter--if there are no new variants and hybrid immunity is long-lasting. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish infectious disease agency has hopes for stable Covid rates this winter — if we’re lucky 

The State Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease agency, hopes we won’t see the dramatic spikes in Covid cases that other pandemic winters have brought. 

That’s if no new variants emerge and hybrid immunity — immunity acquired from a combination of infection and vaccines — is long lasting. And those are big ifs. 

As ever, younger age groups are “expected to be a driving force for the infection” this winter, SSI writes. “Furthermore, there is great uncertainty related to the duration of hybrid immunity, which constitutes a significant proportion of the immunity in society.” 

Denmark shuttered its extensive public Covid testing system in May and has outright discouraged people from seeking Covid tests if they feel ill, so surveillance of the disease is currently very limited. 

READ ALSO: Can you get a Covid-19 booster in Denmark if you’re not in a risk group? 

Danish youth break records for chlamydia infections 

Danish young people from 15-29 years old had record-breaking rates of chlamydia in 2021, data from the SSI and an analysis by nonprofit advocacy group Danish Family Planning Association, DFPA (Sex og Samfund) show.  

More than 31,000 cases were registered by doctors, but officials fear that’s only a fraction of the actual infection rates. 

“It’s worrying that Danish young people are once again breaking this dismal record,” says Majbrit Berlau, secretary general of DFPA. “But even more worrying is that many are infected without knowing it.” 

Young men in particular are particularly reticent to get tested, the numbers indicate. Officials hope a new program to offer home tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea might move the needle. 

Danish doctors prescribed fewer antibiotics during pandemic

General practitioners in Denmark prescribed markedly fewer antibiotics during the pandemic, according to new data from the SSI. 

While the use of antibiotics in Denmark has decreased incrementally since 2013, 2021 saw a sharp drop of 30 percent compared to 2015 levels, the SSI says. (It’s unclear why the SSI chose 2015 as a reference year.) 

The difference was most dramatic in how respiratory infections were treated — kids under four years old were prescribed 51 percent fewer antibiotics during 2021. 

That appears to have paid dividends in preventing the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria — there were 11-12 percent fewer cases of antibiotic resistant E. coli and K. pneumoniae, two of the most common bacteria to thwart antibiotics. 

Ute Wolf Sönksen, chief physician in the SSI’s Bacteria, Parasites, and Fungi department, puts the changes in prescriptions down to fewer serious non-Covid respiratory illnesses circulating in 2021. 

READ MORE: Five essential words you need to know when speaking to a doctor in Denmark 

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

A bomb threat at Copenhagen Airport, negotiations inching toward a broad government, and a lawsuit over negative interest rates are among the top news stories in Denmark on Tuesday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Plane evacuated at Copenhagen airport after bomb threat 

Officials at Copenhagen Airport received a bomb threat shortly before a plane arrived from Poland on the evening of December 5th, Espen Godiksen of the Copenhagen police tells newswire Ritzau. 

Passengers were cleared from the plane and 30-40 of the 71 people aboard the craft were held at the airport until 7:40am the subsequent morning for police to examine their checked luggage, according to broadcaster TV2.

No explosives have been found, but Godiksen says police will remain on site for “a long time.” Godiksen declined to comment on the seriousness of the threat. 

READ MORE: Tips for short-haul foreign travel from Denmark this Christmas 

A strong ‘maybe’ from Liberals to joining government 

Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, chairman of the Liberals (Venstre), now says his party is “maybe” on the path to joining Mette Frederiksen and the Social Democrats in a government that includes both red and blue bloc parties. 

According to TV2’s political commentator Noa Redington, Jensen is likely being coy about the prospects of a central government. 

The parties and their leaders “are probably further along in the process than we know at the moment,” Redington says. “It would be strange if they are not finished before Christmas.” 

However, there’s still time for everything to “collapse,” Redington says. “Then we’re back to square one.” 

READ MORE: Danish Liberal party demands ‘high ambitions’ from Social Democrats 

Watchdog sues Jyske Bank over ‘unreasonable’ negative interest rates

The Danish Consumer Ombudsman plans to take Jyske Bank to court for charging negative interest rates on certain types of accounts — such as pension funds and children’s savings — that penalise customers for withdrawing money early. 

Since 2020, most Danish banks have charged negative interest on some accounts, effectively charging customers to store money. Many banks ended the policy in August of this year amid record-setting interest rate hikes, though Jyske Bank kept theirs negative. 

The Ombudsman’s office will make the case that bank should refund improperly-charged negative interest rates to customers. Jyske Bank denies any wrongdoing. 

READ MORE: End of negative interest rates at (some) Danish banks 

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