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HALLOWEEN

Don’t go trick or treating on Halloween this year, says Danish health service

The Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) has warned against traditional Halloween celebrations this year due to concerns over spreading coronavirus.

Don't go trick or treating on Halloween this year, says Danish health service
Halloween in Denmark in 2019. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Fancy dress parties and knocking on doors to ask for treats have potential to transmit virus infection, the authority writes on its website.

“At Halloween and other autumn events, you should find alternative events to torch processions, fancy dress parties and trick-or-treating, as these are activities that can be linked to transmission of infection,” the statement reads.

As an alternative to the October 31st traditions, the health authority suggests parents organise smaller Halloween parties for smaller groups of children who are in regular contact.

Hollowing out pumpkins is still an acceptable activity according to the recommendation, as is treasure hunting or arts and crafts.

If you really want to give out sweets or candy, this should be done in pre-prepared portions.

Celebrations should take place outside if the weather is good enough, but larger groups should not gather. Denmark currently has a maximum assembly number of 50.

READ ALSO: Early closing times nationwide: These are Denmark’s new Covid-19 measures

“We are in the middle of an epidemic in which we must do things a little differently than usual. That means planning autumn holidays a little differently than we are used to to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection,” Health Authority deputy director Helene Probst said in regard to general activities this autumn.

“That’s why it might be a good idea to stay with people close do you and do fun things at home like jigsaw puzzles or playing conkers. If the weather is good enough, go outdoors, take a walk in the forest or find an outdoor activity at a local museum,” Probst said in the statement.

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COVID-19

Covid deaths in Sweden ‘set to rise in coming weeks’

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has warned that the number of weekly Covid deaths is set to rise, after the number of people testing positive for the virus rose for the sixth week running.

Covid deaths in Sweden 'set to rise in coming weeks'

According to the agency, an average of 27 people have died with or from the virus a week over the past three weeks. 

“According to our analyses, the number who died in week 27 (July 4th-July 11th), is more than died in week 26 and we expect this to continue to grow,” the agency wrote in a report issued on Thursday. 

In the week ending July 17th (week 28), 4,700 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, a 22 percent rise on the previous week. 

“We are seeing rising infection levels of Covid-19 which means that there will be more people admitted to hospital, and even more who die with Covid-19,”  said Anneli Carlander, a unit chief at the agency. “The levels we are seeing now are higher than they were last summer, but we haven’t reached the same level we saw last winter when omicron was spreading for the first time.” 

While 27 deaths a week with for from Covid-19 is a rise on the low levels seen this spring, it is well below the peak death rate Sweden saw in April 2020, when more than 100 people were dying a day. 

The number of Covid deaths recorded each week this summer. Source. Public Health Agency of Sweden
A graph of Covid deaths per day since the start of the pandemic shows that the current death rate, while alarming, remains low. Photo: Public Health Agency of Sweden

Carlander said that cases were rising among those in sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and also elderly people given support in their own homes, groups which are recommended to get tested for the virus if they display symptoms. The infection rate among those given support in their homes has risen 40 percent on last week. 

This week there were also 12 new patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 in Sweden’s hospitals.  

The increase has come due to the new BA.5 variant of omicron, which is better able to infect people who have been vaccinated or already fallen ill with Covid-19. Vaccination or a past infection does, however, give protection against serious illness and death. 

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