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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

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

Museums in Denmark can reopen from Monday.
Museums in Denmark can reopen from Monday. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Restrictions on cultural sector to be eased

The government last night confirmed the re-opening of cultural institutions, which have been closed due to Covid-19 since December 19th.  

A maximum of 500 people will be allowed into indoor venues including theatres, cinemas, museums and conference centres. Amusement parks are also allowed to reopen.

The new rules come into effect on January 16th.

Some of the restrictions introduced in December remain in place: Bars and restaurants still have to close at 11pm and the sale of alcohol remains be banned from 10pm to 5am.

The extended restrictions are now scheduled to expire on January 31st.

We’ll have full detail of the changes in an article on our website today.

READ ALSO: Denmark confirms change to coronapas validity period

Fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to be offered to at-risk groups

A fourth Covid vaccine dose for highly vulnerable people has meanwhile been proposed by the government.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said the move marked a “new chapter” in the fight against the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Denmark will offer the fourth dose to “the most vulnerable citizens” — notably those diagnosed with serious ailments who received an initial booster during the autumn, Heunicke said at yesterday evening’s press briefing.

Health authorities said those concerned would be contacted by early next week.

Denmark donates 400,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to Lebanon

Over 400,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been donated to Lebanon, the Danish foreign ministry confirmed to news wire Ritzau late on Wednesday.

The doses are considered to be surplus to the Danish vaccination programme.

“Denmark is in the fortunate situation that we have more Moderna vaccines in stock than we need, so the only right thing to do is send them out,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said.

The choice of Lebanon as the recipient was made in consultation with the EU. The Middle Eastern country is stricken by corrupt government and severe economic collapse, alongside the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and trauma from a catastrophic explosion at Beirut’s harbour in 2020.

Immigration minister at EU hearing over Danish treatment of Syrian refugees

Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye is today at the European Parliament in Brussels, where he will attend an EU civil rights committee over Denmark’s policy of sending some Syrian refugees back to the Damascus region.

The EU’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) has summoned Tesfaye to the hearing.

In mid-2020, Denmark became the first European Union country to re-examine the cases of about 500 Syrians from Damascus, which is under the control of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, claiming “the current situation in Damascus is no longer such as to justify a residence permit or the extension of a residence permit”. 

Despite a wave of Danish and international criticism, the government and Tesfaye’s ministry has refused to budge.

READ ALSO: ‘I can’t go back’: Syrian refugees in Denmark face limbo after status revoked

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TODAY IN DENMARK

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

Skyrocketing wait times for psychiatrists, splitting monkeypox vaccine doses, and the 7-Eleven ransom are among the top news stories in Denmark on Thursday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Thursday

It takes a year to see a psychiatrist in Denmark 

New data from sundhed.dk analysed by broadcaster DR show an average wait time of 63 weeks to get in with a psychiatrist. 

Wait times for mental health care have climbed dramatically over the last several years. In 2018, the average wait to see a psychiatrist was 23.6 weeks, DR reports, while in 2021, the wait was 37.4 weeks. That’s a 68 percent leap from 2021 to 2022. 

Regional differences in wait times are dramatic — in North Jutland, patients wait an average of 84 weeks. 

Minister of health Magnus Heunicke has refused to sit for an interview with DR on the status of a 10-year plan to improve access to mental healthcare. 

READ MORE: Depressed in Denmark: How to find a therapist in the ‘world’s happiest country’ 

Danish officers will train Ukrainian forces in UK 

Within the next six months, 130 Danish instructors will arrive in the United Kingdom to train Ukrainian soldiers who have “no or limited military experience,” according to newswire Ritzau. 

“We have undertaken to train up to 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers in Great Britain, and I am pleased that Denmark will participate in that project,” Ben Wallace, the British minister of defense, said at a press conference in Copenhagen Wednesday afternoon. 

Danish minister of defense Morten Bødskov says the country has also extended an offer to train Ukrainian soldiers in Denmark — for example, in de-mining. 

Russia’s ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir Barbin, sees the assistance to Ukraine as “delaying peace,” he wrote in an email to broadcaster TV2. 

Danish drugmaker objects to plan to split monkeypox doses 

Bavarian Nordic, the company behind the monkeypox vaccine, has spoken out against the US Food and Drug Administration’s plan to split single doses of the drug into five smaller doses under certain circumstances, according to reporting by the Washington Post. 

The FDA signed off on the plan on Tuesday in an effort to extend a limited supply of doses to a greater population. 

The US isn’t the first country to attempt to get creative with the dosing of the vaccine. According to Bavarian’s instructions, the monkeypox vaccine should be administered over two shots separated by at least 28 days, but the UK has begun offering only a single shot. 

If countries decide to give one shot now, they have a long time to offer the booster and still achieve the same durability advantage. There is plenty of data to support one shot,” Paul Chaplin, managing director of Bavarian Nordic, told news outlet Science in July. 

READ MORE: Danish LGBTQ+ group welcomes monkeypox vaccination decision 

7-Eleven mostly back on grid after ransomware attack

About 169 of 7-Eleven’s 176 Denmark locations are back up and running, according to a statement from the convenience store company on Wednesday evening. 

However, convenience stores at train stations (where you can buy a transport card) only accept Dankort at the moment. All operational stores outside of train stations currently accept Mobile Pay and cash, and many can take Visa, Mastercard, and Dankort. 

7-Eleven has also confirmed that the outage was due to a ransomware attack — hackers demanded money to return access to the company’s data and systems. 

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