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UPDATE: Find information about all measures in place until 7 February

Danish Government is concerned with the spread of the British coronavirus mutation, B.1.1.7. All restrictions in place are prolonged until 7 February, the Danish health authorities announced on 13 January. Find a full update here.

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By Bente D. Knudsen

The health authorities are very worried about the British coronavirus mutation called cluster B.1.1.7 and warn that the virus could spread very quickly in Denmark and even become the dominant COVID-19 virus if a strong reduction in spread is not obtained.

At present the British coronavirus mutation is still only present to a mild degree in Denmark but mathematical model simulations based on the current analysis of positive COVID-19 tests, and the knowledge about how quickly this new mutation spreads, show that the B1.1.7 coronavirus will take over from the existing ones and become the dominant one by mid-February if spread is not reduced.

Especially the contact figure, which at present is at 0,9 (SSI press release of 12 January 2021) must be reduced to around 0,7 to halt spread and keep the British variant under control until vaccinations have become more extensive and those at risk of a serious COVID-19 illness have been vaccinated.

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Should the current contact-figure be maintained, predictions show that more than 5,000 new infections daily are expected by mid-February with resulting pressure on the hospital system.

The British coronavirus mutation is not per say more deadly but by infecting more people, more of those at risk of needing medical attention, even intensive care, will get infected and eventually deaths will rise, so SSI warns.

“We access, from the test samples we have analysed, that spread from the British mutation is 72 percent higher than from the average of the current COVID-19 viruses active in Denmark. At the same time, in the UK, it has been observed that the contact figure is 1,5 times higher than for other COVID-19 viruses’”, says Camilla Holten Møller, leader of the SSI expert group in a press release.

The new restrictions aim to further reduce how people meet both inside and outside of their homes.

A strong appeal has been made that Danish residents reduce their contact points to those in their household and only a very few others, when shopping that only one member of the household does so and to cancel all meetings and appointments, and when meeting with the few contacts to do so outdoors despite the cold season.

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The predictions of the probable number of new daily infections due to the British mutation depending on the contact figure level. The current vaccination program is not taken into account in the model. Picture: SSI

All the present restrictions will be maintained until 7 February and those already in place have been prolonged until this date as well, however, depending on spread even this date could be prolonged, so experts warn.

Right to gather in public areas reduced from 10 to 5

Distancing in public areas, notably shopping, is to be increased from 1 to 2 meters

Present restrictions with closed schools/restaurants/ cultural institutions and leisure and sports facilities, all retail except food, pharmacies, and other necessary shopping such as opticians, must remain closed, this measure was already in place and has thus been extended to 17 January

Outdoor sports facilities and cultural instititions (the ZOOs) who had remained open are to close

Nurseries and preschool, børnehave, institutions remain open but increased daily testing of staff is being examined also parents are encouraged to keep their children at home if possible

Travellers from the UK are not able to enter Denmark without a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours old, this includes all Danish residents as well, who up until now had been able to enter without a test. The test requirement is not a PCR test but those entering without one are encouraged to get one upon arrival.

Scheduled operations and examinations that are not crucial will continue to be cancelled to ensure enough capacity for the rising number of COVID-19 patients in Danish hospitals

Public employees are to work from home whereever possible

Private businesses are encouraged to let their employees work from home.

The authorities stress that the health sector is open and if residents need medical attention, they are to continue to contact their GP or other medical services.

A range of new travel restictions for entry are in place – find our article about them here.

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In order to ensure that all foreign nationals living in Denmark are updated and understand all the measures in place the Danish Health Authority and The Danish Refugee Council have opened a joint hotline and website in 12 languages where you can get reliable and up to date COVID-19 information.

The languages offered are Arabic, Bosnian, English, Farsi, French, Kurmanji, Polish, Romanian, Somali, Tigrinya, Turkish and Urdu.

The hotline is open daily from 17:00 to 19:00 for next six months – including weekends and public holidays.

You can access the hotline at this link  and get answers to your questions in the chat room in the 12 languages. Your questions will be answered during the hotline’s opening hours or within 24 hours.

If you wish to speak to someone in person, call the hotline at +45 41 45 30 56.

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