Denmark’s high Covid-19 numbers continue over Christmas

Denmark recorded its highest ever number of Covid-19 infections in a day on December 26th.

People walking at Vejers Strand on Denmark's west coast on December 26th. Photo: John Randeris/Ritzau Scanpix
People walking at Vejers Strand on Denmark's west coast on December 26th. Photo: John Randeris/Ritzau Scanpix

Sunday saw 14,844 cases registered by the infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI) from 189,840 tests, giving a positivity rate of 7.82 percent.

It should be noted that recent days have seen some delays to test processing, meaning some of yesterday’s total may including positive tests from preceding days.

The total for new infections on December 24th and 25th was 11,229 and 10,027 respectively.

The number of hospitalised patients with the virus increased by 57 to 579. This remains lower than the peak number from the winter 2020 wave, which reached 964 on January 4th this year.

42.4 percent of the population has so far received a booster or “third” Covid-19 vaccination.

“Infections are huge at the moment. This shows that the Omicron variant is dominant and that it is so infectious that we can’t control it,” anaesthesiologist and head of the patients’ organisation Lungeforeningen, Torben Mogensen, told news agency Ritzau.

“The number of hospitalisations is still possible to manage and that’s the most important thing. I’m therefore not worried about our health system collapsing,” Mogensen also said.

Vaccination can be thanked for the lower number of seriously ill and hospitalised patients, he said.

The 24th and 25th of December both saw a drop in the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19, by 32 and 16 respectively, before the figure increased again on Sunday.

Mogensen said he expects infection numbers to continue increasing into the new year.

“We will probably all be infected at some point. The whole purpose (of measures) is to delay the speed this happens so that the health service doesn’t break down,” he said.

The senior medic also said he did not see any need to introduce additional restrictions such as public assembly limits prior to New Year’s Eve.

READ ALSO: Travellers returning to Denmark after Christmas must take Covid-19 test

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”