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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Find out what's going on in Denmark today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
A slight easing off of hot temperatures is forecast in Denmark this weekend. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Eight percent of new Danish coronavirus infections were picked up on trips to Spain

A total of eight percent of positive coronavirus tests registered in Denmark in the last week have been linked to the infected person’s recent travel to Spain, according to new data from the Danish Patient Safety Authority and reported by broadcaster DR.

Spain is currently classed as a yellow country under Denmark’s travel guidelines, with some regions green, meaning Denmark does not restrict travel to those countries for tourists from Denmark (although people coming from yellow regions are required to take a test on returning from their trip).

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Denmark’s latest travel rules

Spain currently has an infection rate three times higher than Denmark, DR writes. The Danish authorities update the colour coded travel guidelines for international countries and regions on Fridays. We’ll report any significant changes as they come in today.

Young Syrian allowed to stay in Denmark after authorities approve appeal

The Danish Immigration Service (Flygtningenævnet) yesterday reversed a decision to deport a young Syrian refugee to Damascus on appeal.

Aya Abu-Daher, a 19-year-old upper secondary school student who lives in Nyborg had her residence permit extended after the authority reversed on appeal a decision to withdraw her asylum status, which would have likely meant she would have been forced to move into a Danish expulsion or departure centre and await deportation.

Abu-Daher, whose situation gained considerable media attention after she was initially told she would not be allowed to complete her school exams, told newspaper Politiken yesterday afternoon she felt “reborn”.

The future of many other Syrian refugees in Denmark remains uncertain after the country withdrew asylum status from dozens of people. The country maintains that conditions in and around Damascus are safe to return refugees in some cases, a position disputed by experts and not taken by other EU countries.

READ ALSO:

Busy traffic expected as many in Denmark take summer holiday

Thousands of people across the country are today expected to hit the roads this weekend as they travel towards summer houses and holiday homes. That is because the statutory holiday for people in many sectors falls during the coming weeks.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about vacation in Denmark

The Danish Road Directorate (Vejdirektoratet) has encouraged drivers to consider the best times to set out in order to keep traffic smooth. Saturday is expected to be particularly busy, news wire Ritzau reports, with motorists heading across Zealand and Funen and south through Jutland.

Break in heat forecast this weekend

This week has seen some truly scorching, dry weather in Denmark, in stark contrast to the catastrophic images of flooding in Germany and Belgium in recent days.

The heat is forecast to ease a little this weekend, with national meteorologist DMI predicting between 20-25 degrees Celsius on Saturday and 18-23 degrees, with some cloud and wind, on Sunday. Friday will be hot at up to 30 degrees Celsius, although a little more breeze could be felt than in preceding days this week.

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

How Covid helped some Danes kick a cigarette habit, whether mistaken heat cheques need to be returned, and record-breaking energy prices are among the top news stories in Denmark on Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Mistaken heat cheques may need to be returned after all  

Perhaps don’t spend that 6,000 kroner windfall just yet — the minister of climate, energy, and supply wants to revisit whether people who received heating cheques by mistake should get to keep the money. 

The heating cheques are intended to support households heated by gas as prices soar, but the government used an online database that relies on self-reported information from homeowners to determine who was eligible. That meant some households that have since switched from gas to another heat source, or have even moved to a different residence altogether, received the cheques in error. 

Minister Dan Jørgensen told TV Avisen he’s asking the parties that supported the original legislation behind the heat cheques to discuss ways of recovering the misspent money. The legislation explicitly said that heat cheques sent in error not only should not be returned, but must not be paid back. 

The system’s goal was to get the money in the accounts of people who need it  as quickly as possible without the delay and added expense of an application process, which could also exclude the most vulnerable, broadcaster DR reports

Electricity price on Wednesday broke Danish record

At about 7 pm Wednesday evening, the price of a kilowatt-hour of energy reached 8.42 kroner, the highest figure recorded in the last 12 years according to TV2. 

Daily and weekly averages are also at record levels, Carsten Smidt, director of the Danish Supply Authority, told DR. According to Nord Pool, the electricity market that covers Nordic countries, prices are three times as high as the same period last year. 

“If prices remain at the current level, an ordinary average family with a variable contract will pay 15,000 kroner more this year than last year for their electricity bill,” economist Brian Friis Helmer of Arbejdernes Landsbank told DR. 

READ MORE: Denmark’s energy agency to look at possible saving measures 

Large fire on Amager extinguished

A Wednesday night fire in a pizzeria on Amagerbrogade, the main high street in Amager south of Copenhagen, spread to first floor apartments before it was extinguished, according to authorities. 

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but no injuries have been reported. 

A kick in the (cigarette) butt: Danish cigarette smokers quit more often, smoked less during pandemic 

According to new research from the University of Copenhagen, more Danish cigarette smokers kicked the habit or reduced their dependence during the height of the pandemic in 2020. 

Smokers bought 20 percent fewer cigarettes on a weekly basis in 2020 than before lockdowns began, and the number of people who quit cigarettes altogether increased 10 percent relative to the year before. 

“We can learn from it that smokers actually react to it when they can see the consequences [of smoking] more clearly right now and here,” University of Copenhagen associate professor Toke Reinholt Fosgaard told newswire Ritzau. 

“You can use prices and make it more expensive to smoke, but you can also try to shift information and awareness around the consequences so that it feels closer,” he added. 

It’s unclear whether the people who quit or reduced their consumption of cigarettes during the pandemic were able to keep it up after 2020, though researchers say they’re hopeful data from 2021 will show a lasting change.

READ MORE: Denmark considers permanent ban on cigarette sales for people born after 2010 

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