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Summary, 16.04.2020 - The government wants to suspend the handshake-rule for new Danish citizens

"Much indicates that we are contributing, together, to get the disease under control. We have proven, that we can get our act together, and that it is leading in the right direction; but now it really counts, because we are not through yet. It is tiring and difficult to make the everyday life work. It has become sad and lonely for many, particularly for the lonely and elderly, who feel cut off from their usual life. But we must now continue to hang in there so that we can all, bigger and small, young as old, get through this crisis. Then we can return to a Denmark which might have changed, but will still be the Denmark of us all - rooted in our community and trust in each other." - Extract from the Queen's speech tonight on the occasion of her 80th birthday.

Foto: TV2

Today was Her Majesty The Queen's 80th birthday (congratulations Daisy!), but was otherwise a relatively calm day. Tonight the party leaders have been invited to participate in negotiations for a further reopening of Denmark, where the various proposals by the parties will be discussed, and eventually incorporated into a governmental plan. I would expect to maybe hear more about these negotiations tomorrow (17.04.2020) or during the weekend.

TODAY'S BULLETS

  1. The Danish government wants to suspend the handshake-rule for all citizenship-ceremonies, with effect for those who were granted citizenship in December 2019, but haven't completed a ceremony yet.

  2. The State Serum Institute cannot recommend opening up for cafés, restaurants, efterskoler and højskoler, based on their models. It is not realistic to be able to keep a sufficient level of social distance, and some of these institutions can even risk so-called 'super-infection-spread' through events.

  3. Several parties on both sides of the Parliament wants to pay back tuition fees to parents, who haven't been able to get their kids taken care of in institutions during the crisis. There are some variances in their proposals, though.

  4. The face-mask research project aiming at investigating whether face masks has a protective effect for the carrier has started up after a little delay. 3.000 more participants are encouraged to sign up.

Foto: Asger Ladefoged


HEALTH-RELATED INFORMATION

  • 6.879 have tested positive, 198 more than yesterday (Since it is not everyone with symptoms of corona-virus who is being tested, the real amount of infected is estimated to be much higher).

  • 353 are hospitalized, 9 less than yesterday.

  • Of those 353, 92 are in intensive care, 3 more than yesterday.

  • Of those 92, 72 are in respirators, 3 less than yesterday.

  • 321 Corona-infected Danes have died, 12 more than yesterday.

  • 82.380 have been tested for corona-virus, with 6.879 positives (8.4 % positives)

  • 3.023 are reported as healthy again, after having been hospitalized with corona-virus, an increase of 275 from yesterday.

  • The State Serum Institute cannot recommend "going as far as opening up for the café- and restaurant-life as well as folk high schools (højskoler), after schools (efterskoler) and the part of the social communities, that is based on larger communities, where people get into close contact. (...) There can be raised doubt whether it is possible to open up these companies, while at the same time realistically being able to keep social distance. There can furthermore be a risk of super-infection-spread by events related to the sports- and free-time communities, associations, after schools and højskoler," says Director Kåre Mølbak.

  • The research project that is supposed to investigate whether face masks can protect their carriers has officially begun, with the delivery of thousands of face masks to 3.000 Danes, that has signed up. The project was supposed to start earlier but was pushed due to a shortage of masks. That shortage has been fixed, but now there is a shortage of participants: "We hope that we can recruit another 3.000 participants, as has always been our plan," says professor chief physician Henning Bundgaard, Rigshospitalet.

  • A 36-year-old male social and health assistant at Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital has died after having been infected with covid-19, has the hospital announced. The man was working in a ward with covid-19 infected, so there is a likelihood that he has been infected due to this contact.

  • The Danish Health Authority has adjusted its guidelines so that forest kindergarten and kindergarten picking up kids in the cities, and bringing them to locations outside of the city, can now drive the children in busses. Originally the guidelines said that children had to be two metres apart, making it impossible to drive entire institutions of children in busses. The guidelines now say that children can drive on a bus, as long as each child has a double seat to themselves.

  • Several homeless foreigners have been testing positive for corona-virus at an emergency-shelter in Copenhagen. The majority are now put into quarantine in rooms provided by Copenhagen Municipality. There are, however, some cases of infected foreigners, who have disappeared after having tested positive. The fear is, that it is foreigners with illegal stays in Denmark, that will deliberately avoid quarantine.

  • The Danish Association for Pharmacies (Danmarks Apotekerforening) reports that the hand sanitizer-crisis at the Danish pharmacies has been resolved. The demand is still higher than the supply, but getting closer to a normal situation.

OTHER NEWS

  • The majority of all high schools will open Monday at the latest, providing physical tuition for the last-year students. A poll made by the Danish Highschools (Danske Gymnasier) shows that 94 % of the high schools will open Monday at the latest.

  • The corona-crisis has led to a drop in electricity consumption in Denmark of 7 %, according to Energinet. Specific business-sectors can be seen to have a significant drop in the electricity consumption - 'Culture and Free-time' have seen a drop of 45 %, and 'Hotels and Food places' have seen a drop of 38 %.

POLITICS

  • The Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye has announced that he wants to suspend the handshake-rule from the upcoming bill regarding the awarding of Danish citizenships. This is based on the recommendations from the Danish health authorities that you shouldn't expose yourself and others to the risk of infection by shaking hands. The minister's proposal includes a suspension of the handshake-rule for those who were granted citizenship in December 2019, but haven't participated in a ceremony yet. "We can of course not demand that new citizens have to shake the mayor's hand when the health authorities are recommendation not to give hand at all. I don't dare to say when we can shake hands again. But we cannot let thousands of applicants wait indefinitely on becoming citizens. They are fulfilling all other requirements. Therefore we will put the rule of handshakes on pause. I think that is common sense" he says in the press announcement (Danish). The intention is to bring the handshake back, as soon as the health recommendations allow it.

  • The party leaders have been called into negotiations regarding a further reopening of Denmark in the Prime Minister's Office (Statsministeriet) at 20.

  • Venstre, Konservative and Dansk Folkeparti want to repay tuition fees to all parents, who haven't been able to get their children taken care of in the institutions, starting from the 1st of April, and until now where the institutions have opened. Enhedslisten believes that parents shouldn't pay if they cannot get their children taken care of, even if the institutions are opening. SF and Det Radikale Venstre want to focus on families that are hard hit economically. The parties will meet for negotiations at the Minister of Children and Education Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil Friday morning.

  • The Parliament has also started on a gradual reopening. The so-called "Wednesdays-questions" will be resumed, where the members of the Parliament can ask direct questions to the ministers. The Prime Minister will also be part of the so-called "asking-hour" next Tuesday. And to the extent possible, consultations with the ministers, that aren't just about the corona-virus, will also be resumed, says the Speaker of the Parliament Henrik Dam Kristensen.

  • The European Commission is on the way with a proposal to ban the pay-out of dividend and bonus for companies receiving governmental support during the corona-crisis. The purpose is to encourage those companies to become self-financing again. "Some of this encouragement is, that the boss cannot get a bonus, that the other shareholders cannot have a dividend, and that you cannot make buy-back programs, where the management gets some of the expected increase in value," says EU-commissioner Margrethe Vestager.


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