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PARLIAMENT

Danish PM Frederiksen awaits result of coronavirus test

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has been tested for coronavirus and is currently in isolation, the Prime Minister's office confirmed in a statement on Wednesday morning.

Danish PM Frederiksen awaits result of coronavirus test
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The PM attended a meeting alongside Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup at the end of last week. Hækkerup, who said on Tuesday he was experiencing symptoms and awaiting a test result, has now confirmed a positive test for Covid-19.

“The Prime Minister participated in a meeting with the justice minister on Friday October 30th 2020, where all guidelines for social distance etc. were followed,” the government statement read.

“The Prime Minister is currently showing no symptoms pf Covid-19 and will, as far as possible, continue to work via virtual meetings,” it added.

Hækkerup said in a Facebook post that he had a cough and fever but is in good spirits.

Frederiksen, along with several other leading government figures including foreign minister Jeppe Kofod, health minister Magnus Heunicke and finance minister Nicolai Wammen, have also met with Hækkerup and are now in isolation as they await the results of their Covid-19 tests.

“The virus has spread to both parliament and the government. I am in isolation and will be tested. Though I have no symptoms of the disease. Take care of each other,” Frederiksen wrote on Facebook.

A series of ministers, members of parliament and a party leader – Søren Pape Poulsen of the Conservatives – were yesterday confirmed to have tested positive for Covid-19. A number of other parliamentarians have isolated due to suspected contact with the virus and Frederiksen's questions session in parliament was postponed.

The most serious report regarding infected Danish politicians concerns Lars Christian Lilleholt of the Liberal (Venstre) party. Lilleholt, a former minister who is now the Liberal defence spokesperson, has been admitted to the University Hospital in Odense with pneumonia after testing positive for coronavirus and has been given the experimental treatment Remdesivir, he confirmed in a social media post.

READ ALSO: Is Denmark's parliament at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak?

An ex-minister suggested that procedures at the Christiansborg parliament be adapted to prevent the spread of infection.

“Perhaps – very carefully suggested – Parliament should rethink consultations and votes. Not by not having them. But the way they take place. Disease is every man's master,” Søren Pind wrote on Twitter.

The parliament has said it will restrict the number of people who can attend meetings.

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COVID-19

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden ‘to peak at end of September’

Sweden's Public Health Agency has warned of a new autumn wave of Covid-19 which it expects to peak at the end of September.

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden 'to peak at end of September'

According to both of the two new scenarios published by the agency on Monday, infection rates are set to rise steadily over the next month, something the agency said was due to a falling immunity in the population and greater contact between people as they return to schools and workplaces after the summer. 

“It is difficult to say how high the peak will be, but it is unlikely that it will reach the same levels as in January and February,” the agency’s unit chief Sara Byfors said in a press release. “The most important thing is that people in risk groups and those who are 65 years old and above get vaccinated with a booster dose in the autumn to reduce the risk of serious illness and death.” 

Under Scenario 0, the amount of contact between people stays at current levels, leading to a peak in reported Covid-19 cases at around 5,000 a day. In Scenario 1, contact between people increases by about 10 percent from the middle of August, leading to a higher peak of about 7,000 reported cases a day. 

The agency said that employers should be prepared for many staff to be off sick simultaneously at points over the next month, but said in its release that it did not judge the situation to be sufficiently serious to require either it or the government to impose additional infection control measures. 

It was important, however, it said, that those managing health and elderly care continued to test those with symptoms and to track the chain of infections, that people go and get the booster doses when they are supposed to have under the vaccination programme, and that those who have symptoms of Covid-19 stay home. 

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