PM says Denmark still faces difficulties with Omicron variant

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Wednesday that Denmark is not clear of the coronavirus crisis and that the Omicron variant remains a potential threat to the country.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that Covid-19 including the Omicron variant remains a threat to Denmark, after some upbeat recent messaging from health officials.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that Covid-19 including the Omicron variant remains a threat to Denmark, after some upbeat recent messaging from health officials. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

Frederiksen’s comments come in the wake of upbeat messaging from the country’s infectious disease agency, the State Serum Institute, which earlier this week suggested ‘normal’ life could return in two months and that Omicron could eventually contribute to immunity levels in the community.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Denmark could return to ‘normal life in two months’

The Prime Minister’s comments were made in a Facebook update posted in relation to the reopening of schools on Wednesday.

“The very infectious nature of Omicron can present a challenge to a society such as ours if it is allowed to run loose,” she wrote.

“It can lead to too many hospital admissions at once. And too much and too fast transmission can risk businesses and public institutions having to close,” she wrote.

“Then there won’t be enough people to drive trains, care for children elderly and the sick or keep production moving,” she wrote.

Frederiksen echoed the appeals of health authorities by calling for more parents to get their children vaccinated.

“With the return to school in mind I again encourage parents to consider getting your children vaccinated as soon as possible,” she wrote.

Health spokespersons from the various parliamentary parties were scheduled to attend talks with the health minister, Magnus Heunicke, on Wednesday afternoon.

When the current Covid-19 restrictions were announced in December, parliament agreed to make an assessment by January 5th as to whether it will be necessary to keep the measures in place beyond January 17th. 

Several parties now support easing restrictions after health authorities said the Omicron variant normally causes more mild disease than the previously-dominant Delta variant, but the government has so far rejected calls to make changes.

Frederiksen wrote in regard to restrictions that “they have helped to put a dampener on transmission”.

“And it has been important to put a stop to potential super spreader events, including in nightlife,” she wrote.

The sales of alcohol is currently banned between 10pm and 5am and bars, restaurants and cafes must close at 11pm.

“Authorities are continually monitoring the situation and this will also be discussed with parties in parliament,” Frederiksen wrote.

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Denmark’s autumn Covid-19 strategy to be presented ‘before summer’

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday that the government will soon present a strategy for managing Covid-19 should the virus resurge in Denmark next autumn and winter.

Denmark’s autumn Covid-19 strategy to be presented 'before summer'

Although everyday life in Denmark is now free of any signs of Covid-19 restrictions, a plan will be put in place to manage a potential increase in cases of the virus once colder months return, Frederiksen said during remarks in parliament.

During a speech given as part of the parliament’s closing session before its summer break, Frederiksen noted that the coronavirus still persists in other countries and that Denmark must therefore have its own plan in place for future management of outbreaks.

“The government will therefore, before the summer (holiday), present a strategy for ongoing Covid management. We will discuss it with the other parties in parliament,” she said.

Frederiksen also said that Denmark was among the countries to have coped best with the pandemic.

“We are one of the countries that have had the lowest excess deaths. And one of the countries that has emerged best from the crisis economically. That is thanks to the efforts of each individual citizen in the country,” she said.

A new wave of Covid-19 cases later this year can be expected, according to a Danish medical expert.

“As things look now, we can reasonably hope that the thoroughly vaccinated population will be well protected against serious cases and that we will therefore see few hospitalisations,” Henrik Nielsen, senior medical consultant at Aalborg University’s infectious disease department, told news wire Ritzau.

“But the number of infections could very easily be high in the autumn and winter with a respiratory virus that gives a few days’ sickness. We expected serious cases to be limited in number,” he said.