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Coronavirus status 30 March: Careful optimism – Denmark on green curve

An optimistic Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen wanted to reassure her citizens that what they are doing is making a difference, Denmark could reopen slowly after Easter.

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By Bente D. Knudsen

At today’s press meeting at the Danish State Department, Mette Frederiksen wanted to impress upon her citizens that the measures taken and the fact that so many citizens adhere to them is making a difference in the speed with which the virus is spreading in the Danish society.

“If we continue to do this, social distancing, hand hygiene, staying at home, then there is hope that after Easter, this means in two weeks’ time, a gradual but very slow reopening of the society could take place,” Mette Frederiksen said.

How and when exactly this is to be done, the government and none of the other participants at today’s press meeting wanted to divulge.

However, the Prime Minister stressed that other countries, who had opened too quickly, had seen a new surge of the epidemic and she wanted to stress that the epidemic was not over and that within the next two weeks more will be ill and, unfortunately, more will die.

However, the numbers so far show that Denmark is on the green curve, the one where the peak of the epidemic happens within the scope of what the health system can cope with, even if it will strain the system’s resources.

Status so far is that 2,555 are sick with COVID-19, 533 are hospitalised, 137 are in intensive care, 119 in a ventilator and 77 have died.

The average age of those who have died is 81, a sad confirmation that the elderly are most at risk.

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The director of the Danish Institute for Disease Control( SSI), Kaare Mølbak, said that he believed one of the things which Denmark had done and which was making a difference was that the measures of social distancing and increasing hand hygiene had been started early, at an early stage of the epidemic; a combination of making the right decisions at the right time, maybe combined with a bit of luck as he phrased it.

However, this does not mean that it is over, unfortunately the virus is in the society and more will get sick, more will need intensive care and more will die, but it seems that the country has the epidemic under control.

If it becomes possible to gradually reopen the society after Easter it must be done in a very controlled way.

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An important part of this reopening will be the possibility of offering two kinds of test. Mette Frederiksen underlined that one of the tests, which the government wants to have ready when a gradual reopening is considered, is a test for COVID-19 antibodies to ascertain if a person has been infected and has built up immunity to the virus.

Another is to have enough testing capacity to be able to test more widespread those with COVID-19 like symptoms in order to avoid spread and a renewed surge of the virus.

“A range of public and private institutions have offered help in providing more testing capacity, which will be needed in this next phase,” the Prime Minister said.

So for the next two weeks the message to all citizens is:

“Denmark is on the right track, it is by no way over yet, so please continue to do what you have been doing so far: social distancing and adhering to all the measures put in place to reduce spread and speed of spread. Stay Safe,” Mette Frederiksen said at the end of the meeting.