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Summary, 06.04.2020 - Daycares, kindergartens, and primary classes may reopen after Easter

The Prime Minister held a press conference today, where she announced the first phase of the gradual and slow reopening of Denmark after Easter.

TODAY'S BULLETS

  1. The numbers are going in the right direction. If it continues like this, and we continue following the guidelines and rules, a gradual reopening of Denmark will begin after Easter.

  2. The first phase will be an opening and return of pupils to daycares, kindergartens and the primary classes (0.-5. grade) after the 15th of April.

  3. The elementary school's finishing exam (Folkeskolens Afgangseksamen) at the 9th and 10th grade has been cancelled. Instead, the last trimester grade will appear as the exam grade.

  4. The ban on larger public gatherings will be enforced until and including August. As a consequence, there will be no festivals and markets in Denmark this summer.

Foto: Philip Davali // Ritzau Scanpix


PRESS CONFERENCE WITH THE PRIME MINISTER REGARDING THE GRADUAL REOPENING OF DENMARK

PRESENT

  • Prime Minister - Mette Frederiksen

  • Minister for Health and Elderly - Magnus Heunicke

  • Director for the Danish Health Authority - Søren Brostrøm

  • Director for the Danish Institute for Serum - Kåre Mølbak

  • National Police Commissioner - Thorkild Fogde

GENERAL

"Everything I have said today only exists on paper right now. It is still only a possibility. Because it is up to every single one of us - you and me and all the others - whether what has been said today will become reality. It will only become a reality if all Danes continue looking out for themselves and the others." Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, official press conference 06.04.2020
  • The number of hospitalizations is going the right way. If they continue in this direction, and people continue keeping distance, wash their hands and avoid meeting too many people at once, the government plans to open up parts of Denmark after Easter.

  • Some, however, have started to take things a bit too relaxed, planning Easter lunches and bringing the entire family out to do their grocery shopping. A small slide in our behaviour as individuals can have serious consequences for our entire community. If the numbers start to go in the wrong direction, there will not be a reopening after Easter.

  • The government plans to begin opening daycares, kindergartens, after-school care and school classes from 0.-5. grade, from the 15th of April. This will give peace to work to the parents, which they need since a lot of their work tasks are standing in line.

  • This gradual and controlled reopening is based on a professional recommendation from the health authorities.

  • The following restrictions are extended until the 10th of May:

- No more than 10 people gathered in one place in public, inside as well as outside,

- The Danish borders will remain closed for foreigners without a recognizable purpose,

- Strong recommendations against travelling abroad from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

- The eldest pupils from 6th to 10th grade will be kept at home. The same goes for efterskole-pupils.


  • Everything that is closed today, will continue to remain closed until the 10th of May - hairdressers, cinemas and shopping centres. But many of these places might be part of the next phase of the reopening if things go well.

  • There will be no finishing exams in the Danish elementary school (9th Grade). Instead, the last trimester-grade will count as the final exam grade.

  • The ban on large gatherings will be enforced until and including August. There will, therefore, be no large festivals and various markets during the summer. What exactly a large gathering is, will be announced later on.

  • The Prime Minister doesn't think that we will return to the Denmark we knew before the corona-virus. We have to continue looking out for each other and take consideration of each other. But it is also important that we do not keep Denmark closed longer than we need to.

  • Banks and larger rental-companies must show activism. This can happen by ensuring cheap loans and credit, and by pushing the rental payments.

  • The various support packages will be looked at, to ensure, that they work efficiently enough, and maybe new initiatives will be taken. This will take place together with the parties in the Parliament.


HEALTH

  • Magnus Heunicke: The patients in intensive care are in general in intensive care for around three weeks. That is longer than we first assumed.

  • Kåre Mølbak: The government's decision is based on a mathematical model, where we, with the reopening, expect to see an increase in illness and hospitalizations. But it is something that can be handled within the existing framework of the healthcare system. It requires, though, that everybody continues to do what they are told.

  • The health authorities are not so worried for children since it is only 1.8 % of all tested children that have been positive, where the same number for adults are 10-11%.

  • The infection pressure is at the moment 0.9, and the Danish Institute for Serum expects it to climb to 1.2 with the reopening initiatives.

  • The health authorities will come with guidelines and recommendations to schools and institutions for cleaning, keeping the distance between the children and how to handle cases of sickness.

  • The parents have a huge responsibility to implement a new everyday-life. They have to explain to the children why they have to keep a distance in kindergarten or school. You need to make a new structure in your everyday life, and the health authorities are sure that they can handle that task.

  • A reopening for the smallest children is only possible if the kids are more outside and keep their distance indoors. Every single institution, together with the municipality, must have the health-professional foundation in order before a reopening can take place. The institutions must ensure proper hygiene, and that the kids only play in small groups. The toys in daycare institutions have to be washed twice a day, and the lunch has to be eaten outside, if possible.

  • The Danish strategy against the corona-virus is not about herd immunity. But until a vaccine or an efficient treatment exists, we must realize, that some of us will become infected. The Danish strategy is to delay the infection spread, so that it doesn't hit too many at once, to protect the elderly and the vulnerable, and to avoid that the healthcare system collapses.

OTHER HEALTH-RELATED INFORMATION

  • 4.681 have tested positive, 312 more than yesterday.

  • 503 are hospitalized, 1 less than yesterday.

  • Of those 503, 139 are in intensive care, 4 less than yesterday.

  • Of those 139, 108 are in respirators, 1 more than yesterday.

  • 187 Corona-infected Danes have died, 8 more than yesterday.

  • 1.327 have recovered after being infected with the virus.

  • 2.272 people were tested Sunday according to the Danish Regions. Once again, the reason for the low amounts of tests is due to fewer referrals during the weekend. We will likely see a spike in these numbers already tomorrow. The target for this week is to test 10.000 people each day, and after Easter, the target is 15.000 each day.

  • 47.340 have been tested for corona-virus, with 4.681 tested positive (remember - people are only tested if suspicion is present - there are large dark numbers out there, so the percentage of infected in the entire population is likely much lower!)

  • 1.378 are reported as healthy again, after having been hospitalized with the corona-virus.

  • The Danish Regions are initiating an initiative with video-consultations with physiotherapists, chiropractors and foot therapists. Here it will be possible to get advice and consultation, without the risk of infection.

  • An anonymous donor has bought 100.000 antibody-test kits in China and given to the Danish healthcare system. It was not possible for the healthcare system itself to get these tests. As a consequence, already today Danish blood-donors can be tested for immunity against the corona-virus. This can be a crucial step in the development of herd immunity, where ca. 60 % of the population, or 3.6 million Danes, need to have had the disease, before a wide immunity against the disease has been developed.

  • The previously announced experiment with face masks will begin in the week after Easter, and not already this week. This is to ensure, that there are enough face masks for the healthcare staff working on the frontline at the moment. The experiment involves 6.000 people and 180.000 face masks and has the purpose of testing whether face masks can prevent people from contracting the virus if they carry a mask. We already know that face masks can make it more difficult for a sick person to transfer disease, but all experiments so far indicate, that they do not prevent a healthy person from becoming sick, due to the mishandling of the face mask.

  • Videnskab.dk writes that the Danish prisons can become the new epicentres for the spread of the corona-virus. Scientists requests more clear guidelines from the authorities in order to avoid a spread of infection from the Danish prisons to the rest of society. Prisons give the perfect conditions for spreading the virus, due to that you cannot keep a distance, the hygiene is often lacking, access to showers and sinks can be limited, and some prisoners do not have their own toilets. Furthermore, quite a few inmates already have various illnesses, meaning the coronavirus can hit them hard.

  • Thermometers are reported sold out across the country. Matas reports that they have sold 6.000 thermometers, and could have sold even more. Normally they sell 4-500 in an entire month. They now expect to get two minor batches before and after Easter.

  • Homeless foreigners without a residence permit can now be tested by the authorities. If they are infected with corona-virus, they will be offered to go into quarantine at Center Brovst or Center Gribskov. They can also be commanded to go into quarantine.

OTHER NEWS

  • The government wants to suspend the 225-hour rule for cash benefit-receivers (kontanthjælp) during the corona-crisis. This proposal is expected to be discussed in the Parliament today, and then be put into law as quickly as possible thereafter. It is expected that the suspension will enact retroactively from the 9th of March.

  • The Danish Economic Councils (De Økonomiske Råd) estimates that the economic growth in Denmark can drop somewhere between 3.5 and 5.5 % this year, depending on the development of the corona-crisis.

  • The Danish Economic Councils also predict that the house-prices can drop with 8-11 % during the corona-crisis in 2020. This is a significant change from their last prognosis, where they expected an increase in the house-prices of 2.2 % this year.

  • According to Minister for Business Simon Kollerup the Danish banks haven't been helping their customers sufficiently during the corona-crisis. He expects that the banks show citizenship, and stretch themselves far without charging expensively for it. His message to the banks is: Remember to show civism - and it has to be now!

  • The Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, appeals rental companies to post-pone the rent for small and medium-sized companies. This would be a huge help for the small business owners, and another way of showing civism.

  • A new corona-hotline has opened - 33 74 5000. As far as I can understand from the press announcement, the hotline has the purpose of helping people, associations and organizations, that can use the various initiatives and support packages, and who are working with culture and media.

  • The police have so far forced two citizens into isolation because they either were infected or suspected of being infected with the corona-virus. The Parliament made it possible to do this the 12th of March where they passed a speed-bill, which entered into action on the 18th of March. This use of force only happens when lesser methods of persuasion have been attempted.

  • Police Commissioner Kim Christiansen from Københavns Vestegns Politi held a short press briefing today. They have received more than 700 approaches from worried citizens about people that do not keep a distance. Furthermore, they have filed 16 cases, that has led to 80 charges. This includes cafés, hairdressers and clubs, that were not respecting the laws. They will increase the amount of police on the street with 25 % in the Easter-break, to ensure, that the citizens respect the various laws that have been implemented.

  • Due to the ban on large public gatherings, Roskilde Festival and Smukfest have cancelled this year's festivals. The same will have to happen for all festivals until and including August.




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