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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday

Total deaths in Denmark up 'significantly' due to Covid and flu, employers' case against shortened master's degrees, and stop-and-search in Copenhagen are among the top news stories in Denmark on Friday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Friday
Public health officials urge Danes to stay up to date on Covid and flu vaccines as deaths spike this winter. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Deaths up ‘significantly’ in Denmark due to ‘triple epidemic’ 

Significantly more people in Denmark have died in recent weeks than were expected, according to the most recent report from the State Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease agency. Officials at the SSI say this winter’s triple epidemic — widespread infections with Covid, influenza, and RSV — are likely to blame, having hit elderly populations particularly hard. 

While final tallies are still being calculated, the SSI believes about 30 percent more people died than were expected to the week of December 12th, based on a graph published by the agency. In the final week of the year, about 1,400 people died in Denmark — that represents “really high” excess mortality, according to SSI director Henrik Ullum. 

The SSI anticipates that flu infections will continue to rise over the next several weeks. “This can mean that excess mortality may drag on, ” Ullum told broadcaster DR. “We must anticipate that we will see significant continued illness in Danish society over the winter and also excess mortality.” 

However, Ullum doesn’t foresee restrictions like masking or work-from-home returning to Denmark. “The burden on our healthcare system is much less,” he said to DR. “That’s why no experts — including myself — see restrictions coming into question at all.” 

Instead, Ullum urges vaccination against both flu and Covid and emphasises the importance of staying home if you feel sick. 

READ MORE: Can you get a Covid booster in Denmark if you aren’t in a risk group? 

Survey: most employers oppose Denmark’s plan to shorten master’s programmes 

The Danish government’s plan to cut many master’s degree programmes from two years to one isn’t popular among most employers in Denmark, according to survey data from the Danish Association of Lawyers and Economists (Djøf). 

Of the more than 1,600 public and private employers surveyed, 77 percent said shortening master’s programmes would be “a step backwards,” newswire Ritzau reports. Meanwhile, 72 percent of employers said they’d prefer to employ a graduate with a longer degree over a candidate with a shorter one. Two out of three respondents went so far as to say that graduates with shorter degrees should command lower salaries. 

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: What are the main policies of the new Danish government?

Stabbings: Police extend Copenhagen stop-and-search for two more weeks 

January 2nd saw two more stabbings in Nørrebro, despite elevated police presence and a special stop-and-search policy implemented in the wake of five earlier stabbings in Nørrebro and Nordvest during the Christmas holidays, according to Ritzau. 

Copenhagen law enforcement has announced it will continue the stop and search zones (also called “visitation zones”) for the next two weeks. Since the searches began December 29th, police say 120 people have been searched, turning up 13 stabbing weapons and leading to five charges. 

Police believe several of the stabbings are between young men “associated with criminal circles,” Ritzau reports. 

READ ALSO: Copenhagen police implement stop and search zones in wake of stabbings 

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For members


Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Danish defence minister takes leave to 'unplug', antibiotic recalled, online store reaches union deal, and rail staff report abuse. Here's some of the latest news from Denmark.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Denmark’s new defence minister on sick leave to ‘unplug’

Denmark’s Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen on Monday said he was taking sick leave for an undetermined period, hardly two months after a new government took power.

The 49-year-old said he was admitted briefly to hospital last week for “nausea”, just after returning from Ukraine.

“I was eager to go back to work immediately. But now that it’s been a few days I have to realise I’m not ready for this,” he said on Facebook.  “I have been unusually busy for a long time. Now my body is sending me a signal that it’s time to take a break, if not it’s going to end badly,” he said.

“The bottom line is that, on the advice of my doctor, I need to unplug for a while and take leave. And then I will return when I’m ready.”

Economy Minister Troels Lund Poulsen will fill in for Ellemann-Jensen during his absence, the government said.

His absence comes as Danes protest against government plans to abolish a public holiday to help fund the defence budget amid the war in Ukraine.

Danish vocab: orlov – furlough/leave

Danish medicines authority recalls antibiotic used by 35,000 people

The Danish Medicines Agency, Lægemiddelstyrelsen, said on Monday that persons using the antibiotic medicine Dicillin, produced by Sandoz, should return it to pharmacies to be replaced.

The medicines authority issued the instructions in a press statement on Monday after multi-resistant bacteria known as CPO were detected in nine cases in patients who have taken the antibiotic.

The nine cases were detected over a four-month period.

Around 35,000 people in Denmark were prescribed the antibiotic between September and December last year, according to the Danish Patient Data Authority (Sundhedsdatastyrelsen).

Danish vocab: en tilbagekaldelse – a recall

Danish online store agrees long-awaited union deal with drivers

Danish online supermarket has reached an agreement for working terms for its drivers with the trade union 3F Transport.

The two sides confirmed the new agreement in a statement on Monday.

Nemlig grew considerably as a business during the Covid-19 pandemic as large numbers of supermarket customers chose to have their groceries delivered instead of going to physical stores.

But the online supermarket has courted controversy over reports its parent company Intervare undepaid drivers.

Under the new agreement, Nemlig will be able to hire its own drivers. The company said in the statement that it will implement new terms for existing subcontracted drivers under the same conditions.

Danish vocab: en overenskomst – an agreement

Danish rail staff report high incidence of abuse at work

Staff on board Denmark’s trains are subjected to both physical and verbal abuse when at work, rail employees said in a survey.

In the survey, conducted by the trade union for rail workers Dansk Jernbaneforbund, one in five rail staff said they had received physical abuse at work at some point during the last three months.

Almost 80 percent meanwhile said they had received verbal abuse during the last three months.

Some 415 rail workers took part in the survey.

The abuse is most likely to occur when staff check the validity of passengers’ tickets.

Danish vocab: togansatte – rail workers