In light of Denmark’s decision to enact a country-wide lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus (also known as COVID-19), we’re providing a breakdown of facts and resources so you can stay updated and take safety precautions.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a member of the coronavirus family. It is a viral infection that causes flu-like symptoms and respiratory problems among its suffers. Despite originating in animals, the virus transmits effectively in humans – with current estimates showing that without strong containment measures, the average person who catches COVID-19 will pass it on to two others. The virus also has a higher mortality rate than the average flu, with those aged 60 + and those that are immuno-suppressed at the highest risk. Due to its ability to spread and cause serious illness, multiple countries have introduced (or plan to) drastic public health measures to contain and limit its impact.
What’s happening in Denmark?
Update: The first week after Easter, schools opened and some businesses started to return as restrictions around the lockdown began to ease up. Denmark has shown excellent progress in flattening the curve and is therefore tentatively opening the country back up. Travel is still restricted with border closures, and the same social distancing rules apply (wash hands often, keep distance, self-isolate if you present symptoms), but some sense of normality is returning. Among the businesses allowed to open are hairdressers, massage parlors, and cleaning services.
As of Monday 20th April, Denmark will be rolling out increased testing for the virus. White tents set up around the city are to increase capacity, so anyone with symptoms is able to be tested. Previously only though with severe symptoms would receive this treatment.
On Monday 23rd March, it was announced the lockdown would extend to 13th April. All are urged not to travel during the Easter break which includes canceling Easter lunches, postponing family visits, and not to go sightseeing around the country. Basically, stay at home through the Easter break and continue to only have contact with household members.
Since Tuesday 17th March, Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced a ban on public crowds of more than 10 people and ordered temporary closures of venues and customer-facing spaces. Restaurants, bars, cafes, nightclubs, gyms, tanning centers, and tattoo parlors will be required to shut down until March 30. Food stores remain open. These bans took effect on Wednesday 18th March at 10 am.
Since Saturday 14th March at 12 noon, Danish borders are officially closed to non-Danes and non-residents. Those with any kind of residence permit will still be granted entry to the country. This closure is effective until 13th April. Non-Danes and non-residents with a valid and necessary reason to enter the country will be granted entrance on a case-by-case basis at border controls.
Since Wednesday 11th March, Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced a country-wide shut down of non-essential public sector services. Further measures announced include:
– All non-essential public sector employees will be sent home from 13th March. If they are unable to work from home, they will be given paid leave.
– Employees in the health sector, the elderly care sector, and the police must stay at their posts.
– All public schools and daycare services will be closed from Monday, 16th March for a fortnight. Those who can are encouraged to keep children home from Thursday.
– All students in higher education are expected to return home as early as Thursday and no later than 13th March. They must remain at home for two weeks.
– Companies are encouraged to ensure that as many people as possible work from home or take leave. Physical meetings should only be held if absolutely necessary.
– All indoor cultural institutions, libraries, and leisure facilities will be closed from 13th March for two weeks. The government encourages churches, mosques, and other religious institutions and associations to stay closed.
– All gatherings involving more than 100 people indoors must be canceled.
– Bars and clubs are encouraged to stay closed.
How can I protect myself from coronavirus?
For information on how to prevent contamination or what to do if you think you may have COVID-19, consult Sundhedsstyrelsen.
Flying to and from Denmark
Flights from “red” areas deemed high risk have been banned since Tuesday 10th March for two weeks with a possibility to extend. The areas in question are the Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Veneto, Marche, and Valle d’Aosta regions in Italy; Iran; Ischgl in Austria; Hubei province in China; Daegu city and Gyeongbuk province in South Korea. All non-essential travel is strongly advised against, as Denmark now classifies rest of world as an “orange” risk.
Hospitals and doctors
Hospitals have asked that people do not bring unnecessary companions in for appointments, procedures, scans, and so on. If you need advice regarding a concrete case of illness (e.g. symptoms experienced by yourself or a family member), you should contact a doctor and not self-present at a hospital or clinic.
Hygiene and hand washing
Wash hands regularly with soap and water (or, if necessary, with a hand sanitizer that has 60% or higher alcohol concentration) and if you need to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your elbow. On the whole, avoid physical contact, unnecessary meetings, and public transport where possible.
The government has urged people not to panic-buy food and household items. Grocery stores remain open and are currently well-stocked.
What about the rest of Scandinavia?
All Scandinavian countries are taking measures to mitigate the effects of the virus.
Swedish health authorities believe the risk of the virus spreading in Sweden is “very high.” As of 12th March at 9 am, containment measures include:
– A ban on large public events for over 500 people
– Members of the public advised to avoid “non-essential” visits to hospitals or care homes
Update: as of 16th March, all Swedes who are able to, Stockholmers in particular, are urged to work from home and the elderly are advised against going outside.
Norway has also moved to close all schools and is discouraging public events. It has also closed its borders. Home isolation and quarantine laws are in effect, meaning anyone caught breaking these regulations will be given a fine of 20,000 Norwegian kroner or a 15-day jail sentence. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has also banned Norwegians from staying in lake houses or cabins outside their home municipality.
Finland has closed schools, daycare centers, universities, and shopping malls, as well as ferry and air traffic.
This is a developing story.
For the most up-to-date information and healthy and safety advice, please see: