Covid-19: Omicron subvariant now dominant in Denmark

The new subvariant of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, BA. 5, is now the dominant form of the virus in Denmark.

Covid-19 test in Denmark.
Covid-19 test in Denmark. Case numbers are currently seeing a summer increase due to the emergence of the BA 5 Omicron variant. File photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed that the new subvariant was now responsible for the majority of new Danish Covid cases in Twitter post on Tuesday afternoon.

The subvariant comprised 32 percent of confirmed cases nationally last week. That share has since increased to 59 percent.

“(BA. 5) appears to have a transmission advantage compared to other variants but there is still no sign that it causes more serious illness,” the minister wrote.

Health authorities earlier stated they expected BA. 5 to become the dominant subvariant in Denmark. It comprised under 1 percent of cases around a month ago.

The reproduction rate or R-number for Covid-19 in Denmark is now 1.1. A value over 1.0 indicates that the virus is spreading. If it is under 1.0, the epidemic is receding.

Last week saw the reproduction rate exceed 1.0 for the first time since February, with that now maintained for a second week.

The prevalence of Covid-19 in the community remains at a low level compared to the early months of 2022.

Heunicke has previously stated that there is “absolutely no question” of Covid-19 restrictions returning in Denmark during the summer.

A plan for managing a potential wave of cases in the autumn and winter is expected to be presented by the government prior to its summer break.

READ ALSO: Danish health minister says further Covid-19 vaccinations could ward off restrictions

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Covid-19: Danish case numbers fall by almost one fifth

Fewer new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Denmark, with last week’s total 19 percent reduced compared to the week before.

Covid-19: Danish case numbers fall by almost one fifth

The latest report from the State Serum Institute (SSI), the Danish infectious disease agency, states 10,777 new cases were detected in the week commencing July 25th, equivalent to 183 cases per 100,000 residents.

The number of PCR tests administered also decreased 15 percent compared to the preceding week, however.

Declining viral loads in the wastewater system also suggest there’s a lower burden of infection in the country, according to SSI.

In the same period, new Covid-positive hospital admissions fell nearly a quarter, with a significant decline in the elderly population. 

There was also a significantly lower prevalence of infections among care home residents and social care sector staff, SSI states.

Last month, age concern charity Ældre Sagen called for the Danish Health Authority to bring forward planned booster vaccinations to care home residents after a 29 percent increase in new hospital admissions with the virus, with 60-89 year-olds particularly affected.

Booster vaccinations will be offered to everyone aged 50 and over this autumn.

READ ALSO: Who is eligible for a fourth Covid vaccine dose in Denmark and when?

60 deaths among people who were infected with Covid-19 occurred last week, 10 more than the preceding week.

“But this is not a sign of excess deaths in the population in general,” SSI says in the report.

Omicron sub-variant BA.5 is still responsible for the lion’s share of Covid cases in Denmark, accounting for 92 percent of positive results in the week of July 18th. 

“There is no sign of concerning spread of other subvariants,” SSI writes.