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Summary, 12.05.2020 - Protective gear now critical infrastructure. New agency responsible for these.

Updated: May 13

TODAY'S BULLETS

  1. Protective equipment will be considered as critical infrastructure for the Danish society. Therefore, there will be established a new agency underneath the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, which will have the responsibility for ensuring that we will not be missing protective equipment again the future.

  2. From this week will a new offensive test strategy enter into force. The three legs are testing, tracking and isolation.

  3. Kåre Mølbak finds it very unlikely that we will see a second wave of corona-spread: “If the virus was given free, without us doing anything, there would be a certain likelihood for a second wave. But we have learned more about the disease, we have built up a test capacity, and we can now isolate people who have been exposed to infection."

  4. The State Serum Institute has removed 12 cases of death from the statistics of corona-related deaths. They were mistakenly included despite having died more than 30 days after their positive test. The new number of deaths is 527.

  5. New Danish research from the University of Copenhagen shows that there might be a correlation between the condition of a corona-infected patient's heart, and the course of their treatment. By scanning the heart you can with a high probability either rule out a severe worsening of the patient's condition or prepare the patient and the ward on a serious treatment prospect.

  6. Waiting too long with reopening Denmark for tourism might cost Denmark billions of kroner in lost income. A calculation made by Wonderful Copenhagen shows that a recovery of the tourism activity in Copenhagen in 2023, instead of in 2024, will mean an extra income of 26 billion kroner.

Press conference 12.05.2020 / Foto: Regeringen.dk

PRESS CONFERENCE WITH THE PRIME MINISTER AND OTHER PUBLIC FIGURES

PRESENT

  • Prime Minister - Mette Frederiksen

  • Minister of Justice - Nick Hækkerup

  • Minister of Health and the Elderly - Magnus Heunicke

  • Director for the Danish Health Authority - Søren Brostrøm

  • Director for the State Serum Institute - Kåre Mølbak

  • Director for Organisation and Civil Service in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs - Erik Brøgger Rasmussen


Summary

  • Protective equipment will be considered as critical infrastructure for the Danish society. Therefore, there will be established a new agency underneath the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, which will have the responsibility for ensuring that we will not be missing protective equipment again the future.

  • From this week will a new offensive test strategy enter into force. The three legs are testing, tracking and isolation.

  • With the use of this infection-tracking leg in the new strategy, it makes the Danish Health Authority optimistic when it comes to breaking the infection chains that will come during the next reopening phases, says Søren Brostrøm.

  • Kåre Mølbak finds it very unlikely that we will see a second wave of corona-spread: “If the virus was given free, without us doing anything, there would be a certain likelihood for a second wave. But we have learned more about the disease, we have built up a test capacity, and we can now isolate people who have been exposed to infection."

  • It is justifiable from a health-perspective to reduce the requirement on social distancing from two metres to one, says Søren Brostrøm: “We decided to go with a principle of precaution in the beginning, but there hasn’t been consensus about one or two metres (internationally, ed.).

  • The Foreign Ministry is still advising against travelling out of Denmark.

Politics

  • Protective equipment will be considered as critical infrastructure for the Danish society. Therefore, there will be established a new agency underneath the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, which will have the responsibility for ensuring that we will not be missing protective equipment again the future. The agency must: “ensure a central, coordinated build-up of stocks with protective equipment and testing capacity. It must be a crucial turning point between the private and public sectors, and in the cooperation with other countries about securing protective equipment and tests,” says the Minister of Justice, Nick Hækkerup. The agency is expected to enter into function in August.

  • The Prime Minister rejected the criticism from Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, party leader of Venstre, regarding that the requirement on social distancing was reduced shortly after the agreement about the next phases of the reopening. He believes it could have changed the negotiations so that e.g. cultural institutions could have been reopened further. “The new requirement on social distancing wouldn’t have been making the foundation for a different agreement, than the one that was made Thursday,” she says.

  • The Prime Minister didn’t want to discuss whether the borders will be reopened in phase 3 since it depends on the countries around us.

  • Bars and nightclubs will not be part of the next reopening phase emphasised the Prime Minister.


Health

  • From this week a new offensive test strategy will enter into force. The three legs are testing, tracking and isolation. “Now where we are setting in with a more offensive strategy for tests and protective equipment, it might hopefully give the elderly and vulnerable more of their everyday life back. (Make them able to) see the family and see the grandchildren,” said the Prime Minister.

  • The Minister of Health, Magnus Heunicke, wouldn’t rule out that the authorities might use force if people won’t voluntarily inform who they have been in contact with when tracking down people who have been in contact with a corona-infected. “But fundamentally we walk the path of voluntarism,” he says.

  • A new hotline will be created, that will help infected tracking down their contacts and ensure that the infection chain is stopped. Those who are tracked down will then be offered to be tested.

  • A new infection-tracking app is on the way, which will aid the effort of tracking down infection chains.

  • As a part of the isolation-leg of the test strategy, there will be offered better opportunities for self-isolation, for those who cannot easily isolate themselves in their own residences. Hotels, holiday centres or similar commercial facilities will be offered to those who need it.

  • Søren Brostrøm calls it a significant change (paradigmeskifte), that we are now offering tests to people without symptoms. The goal is that it will limit the use of quarantine, he says.

  • With the use of this infection-tracking leg in the new strategy, it makes the Danish Health Authority optimistic when it comes to breaking the infection chains that will come during the next reopening phases, says Søren Brostrøm.

  • Kåre Mølbak finds it very unlikely that we will see a second wave of corona-spread: “We must do everything we can to prevent an actual second wave. I believe we have the prerequisites to do so now. If the virus was given free, without us doing anything, there would be a certain likelihood for a second wave. But we have learned more about the disease, we have built up a test capacity, and we can now isolate people who have been exposed to infection. At the same time do doctors and nurses know how to handle patients. But we might see changes in the infection pressure (R-value, ed.),” he says.

  • The Minister of Health, Magnus Heunicke, wants to increase focus on having more vaccines against the common flu in the future to vulnerable groups and elderly above 65 years of age, as a learning point of the coronavirus. Apart from this, we have also learned about the need for better hygiene, he says.

  • It is justifiable from a health-perspective to reduce the requirement on social distancing from two metres to one, says Søren Brostrøm: “We decided to go with a principle of precaution in the beginning, but there hasn’t been consensus about one or two metres (internationally, ed.),” he says. He mentions Norway, where one meter has been the requirement, and less has been infected despite this.

  • The two-metre requirement is still in effect in situations where there is a particularly high risk of drop-infection, says Søren Brostrøm. This includes teachers that speak loudly, actors and choir-singers, to mention a few, that all should consider keeping two metres of distance.


Foreign policy

  • The Foreign Ministry is still advising against travelling out of Denmark: “It will be unwise to start travelling again at the current moment. There is still infection out in the world. We want to avoid that it comes to Denmark. We also don’t want Danes to get stranded again,” says Erik Brøgger Rasmussen.

  • He also informs that less than 800 are still stranded abroad. “We have come far. The last ones will have a difficult time getting home, but many of them are fortunately in safe environments with their family and friends,” he says.

POLITICS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • The Danish government is not considering opening a “travel corridor”, direct planes, to countries with a low amount of infection as the situation is right now: “We have no plans of opening up corridors to remote countries, not even to our neighbouring countries,” says the Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen.

  • At least three cases of possible fraud with the compensation-schemes are currently being investigated by the police. All three cases are associated with the salary compensation scheme. One of the conditions for this scheme is that the employees do not work while the company receives compensation. Several accountants are worrying, however, that the companies are still letting their employees work, meaning the company receives unjustifiable support.

  • A political agreement between all the parties in the Parliament, with the exception of Nye Borgerlige, means that 725 million kroner will be given to the travel sector. 600 million will be given as a grant to the Travel Guarantee Fund’s (TGF) checkout for extraordinary situations. On top of this, there is another grant to the fund-checkout for package-travels in the TGF of 125 million kroner. The new agreement also means that the travel companies are no longer collectively liable for cancelled trips between the 14th of April and the 10th of May, but instead have to pay back the money individually. This collective liability was a major criticism from various companies in the TGF, where 8 large travel companies threatened with leaving the fund. Finally, the Parliament will seek support in the EU for a temporary obligatory voucher-scheme, which will function as a security for the Danish consumers, where they can get a new trip for the voucher. If the consumers want the money back, they can get it after one year, if they don’t use the voucher.

HEALTH-RELATED INFORMATION

  • 10.591 have tested positive, 78 more than yesterday (Expect large dark numbers since we haven't been testing everyone with symptoms from the start, ed.).

  • 177 are hospitalized with corona-virus, 21 less than yesterday.

  • Of those 177 are 43 in intensive care, the same as yesterday.

  • Of those 43 are 32 in respirators, 1 less than yesterday.

  • 527 Corona-infected residents in Denmark have died, 6 more than yesterday (12 cases of death have been removed due to errors in their registration. Yesterday's numbers was 533, ed.).

  • 334.260 have been tested for corona-virus (+7.700), with 10.591 positives (3.17 % positives), a drop of 0.05 %-point from yesterday (We are testing more, so we are getting closer to the real percentage of infected people in the society)

  • 8.580 are reported as healthy again, after having been hospitalized with corona-virus, 252 more than yesterday.

  • The State Serum Institute has removed 12 cases of death from the statistics of corona-related deaths. They were mistakenly included despite having died more than 30 days after their positive test. The new number of deaths is 527. The SSI is also working on making a new evaluation system of causes of death, which will be built on the standards of the WHO. This should give a more full picture of corona-related deaths.

  • New Danish research from the University of Copenhagen shows that there might be a correlation between the condition of a corona-infected patient's heart, and the course of their treatment. By scanning the heart you can with a high probability either rule out a severe worsening of the patient's condition or prepare the patient and the ward on a serious treatment prospect. "We can, with a low risk of errors, predict whether a patient is facing a mild course, where they can essentially go home immediately or is facing a more serious and long course. This means that the hospitals can use this knowledge to estimate who needs to be checked often. And when we eventually get effective medicine we can aim it at the patients that really need it," says the research leader on the project, Tor Biering Sørensen, who also calls the discoveries "completely new and enormously important knowledge."

  • New guidelines for visits at retirement homes open up for indoor visits when critical situations are present. The Danish Health Authority defines a critical situation as a situation where the person living at the retirement home is critically ill or dying.

  • Fewer women are going to the screening for breast cancer during the corona-crisis. Only 68 % of the invited women between the 12th of March till the 30th of April did the screening, where the same number last year was 84 % in the same period.

  • A new agreement between the government and the Danish Regions means that the leftover capacity in the private healthcare system must be used to bring down the pile of patients on the waiting list for various surgeries. Priority will be given to those who are in need the most.

OTHER NEWS

  • Waiting too long with reopening Denmark for tourism might cost Denmark billions of kroner in lost income. A calculation made by Wonderful Copenhagen shows that a recovery of the tourism activity in Copenhagen in 2023, instead of in 2024, will mean an extra income of 26 billion kroner. The Administrative Director of Copenhagen Airport, Thomas Woldbye, also believes that Denmark should use our current status as a country that has come out of the corona-crisis in a strong and safe position to reboot the tourism and thereby our economy.

  • 34 out of the country’s 98 municipalities have not registered any new corona-infected the last seven days. The majority of the municipalities on Zealand continues to get more corona-infected, whereas more and more municipalities on Funen and Jutland have been without any new infection-cases for a week.

  • The Danish Defence pushes the admission tests for the Special Operation forces due to the covid-19-situation. Parts of the Special Operation Forces are the Jaeger- and Frogman Corps, as well as the Sirius-patrol.



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