Today there was a question session in the Parliament, where the party leaders asked questions to the Prime Minister. The session touched upon many subjects. We were also informed, that we won't be able to gather more than 500 in public space at any moment during the summer, but the current ban of more than 10 might just as well be extended. Finally, a new set of guidelines came out, and we have heard rumours that selected Danes might be taken out for corona-tests and antibody-tests.
It will not be possible to gather more than 500 people at any moment during the summer, regardless of the development of the virus. The current ban of 10 people in public space continues until the 10th of May, and might still be extended.
Anybody who is hospitalized for more than a day, as well as residents and employees of nursing homes with confirmed corona-infection, must be tested according to the new guidelines. The full list can be seen in the summary.
A political majority has decided to suspend the 225-hour rule until the 1st of July since it is difficult for cash benefit receivers to find a job during the corona crisis.
Rumours have it that selected citizens will in the near future get a message through borger.dk or e-Boks that they have been selected for testing and will then have to meet up at a test-centre to either do a throat-swab or have a blood sample taken. This is with the aim to find out who is or has been, infected with the coronavirus.
Outdoor sports and exercise can restart again if there is no body-contact between the participants. Examples can be tennis and golf.
The party leaders could today ask questions to the Prime Minister, and at the end of the summary, there is a somewhat full summary of this questioning session. Climate, long-term strategy, vaccine-production and parliamentary control were the key topics.
7.695 have tested positive, 311 more than the day before 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).
336 are hospitalized, 17 more than the day before yesterday.
Of those 336, 81 are in intensive care, 3 less than the day before yesterday.
Of those 81, 72 are in respirators, 1 less than the day before yesterday.
370 Corona-infected Danes have died, 15 more than the day before yesterday.
100.543 have been tested for corona-virus, with 7.695 positives (7.6 % positives)
4.700 are reported as healthy again, after having been hospitalized with corona-virus, an increase of 559 from the day before yesterday.
Anyone who is hospitalized for more than a day, as well as residents and employees at nursing homes with confirmed corona-infection, must be tested according to the new guidelines. The full list is:
- Patients with mild symptoms.
- People who are expected to be hospitalized for more than a day.
- Patients in acute treatments, who needs to have procedures done, which are estimated to make out a special risk.
- Residents and employees at institutions with confirmed corona-infection of a resident or employee.
- Efforts are being made to make it possible to also test people who have been in close contact with a person who is confirmed to infected.
- Furthermore, it is also the goal that employees working with vulnerable citizens or patients can be regularly tested.
Sjællandske Nyheder says that the National Police and the State Serum Institute are working on a new test strategy with the aim of finding out who is infected with the coronavirus. Selected citizens will in the near future get a message through borger.dk or e-Boks that they have been selected for testing and will then have to meet up at a test-centre to either do a throat-swab or have a blood sample taken.
The white tents that are being put up around the country will be used to test up towards 20.000 people for coronavirus, as well as for antibodies.
The Danish Safety Technology Authority is currently investigating 11 cases of protective equipment that is suspected of not fulfilling the Danish safety requirements, that has been produced or sold by Danish companies. The Authority will in the coming period do even more controls of Danish producers and sellers of protective equipment against coronavirus.
A full shipload of 300.000 litres of ethanol will now be used to hand sanitizer instead of gasoline. The ship arrived in Aarhus Friday.
297 homeless and socially exposed has been tested in Aarhus municipality, if they promised to voluntarily go into isolation if they tested positive. Not a single one tested positive.
Outdoor sports and exercise can restart again if there is no body-contact between the participants. Examples can be tennis and golf. Football and other near-contact sports are still not allowed to resume. A further demand is, that the general demands and recommendations from the health authorities are being respected and followed. This was announced by DIF and DGI.
The real estate market experienced a severe drop in March when compared to March 2019. The market for houses and villas in dropped with 6 % and the market for condos dropped with 17.3 %.
The four largest zoos in Denmark will reopen on the 1st of May. Copenhagen, Aalborg, Odense and Givskud Zoo have been given the permission from the National Police to reopen, as long as they follow the demands made by the health authorities.
The insurance company Tryg has lost 255 million kroner in Q1 2020 helping 30.000 customers from Denmark, Sweden and Norway with cases related to the corona-outbreak. This was informed by the company in its financial accounting. The company had reinsured itself in other insurance companies, which covers a significant part of the expenditures. When these reinsurances have been paid, it will have cost Tryg 115 million kroner, mostly going to aid with home transport and travel cancellations.
Around 1.000 Danes are still stuck abroad. Almost 40 % are in Pakistan and India, with respectively 253 and 137 people on the list.
It will not be possible to gather more than 500 people at any moment during the summer, regardless of the development of the virus. This ban will be in effect until the 1st of September, but not before at least the 10th of May, where the current ban of gathering more than 10 in public space will run out. This tricky formulation is used to give planners the possibility to plan around this higher limit, and the limit of 10 people might still be extended, meaning the date where the upper limit of 500 will go into effect will be pushed further into the summer.
A political majority has decided to suspend the 225-hour rule until the 1st of July since it is difficult for cash benefit receivers to find a job during the corona crisis. The government, the red parties and Venstre voted yes, De Konservative, Liberal Alliance and Nye Borgerlige voted against, and Dansk Folkeparti, who was previously advocating the proposal, voted yellow (neither yes nor no). They believe reality has outdated the proposal since parts of society have begun to reopen.
The Minister of Business, Simon Kollerup, has spoken critique of Danske Bank's decision to increase the percentage Danes need to pay in cash when they buy a house from 5 % to 10 % in their mortgage institute Realkredit Danmark. "We need banks in Denmark that understands how to lift their share of responsibility to society, and which helps keeping the hand under the real estate market and the Danish house-owners," he says. So far no other banks have decided to follow the decision of Danske Bank.
The Minister of Transport Benny Engelbrecht has made it illegal to drive with busses that are more than half full, in order to avoid the spread of coronavirus. This has come after pictures of a completely full Flixbus-bus going from Aalborg to Copenhagen went viral last week.
The European Commission is launching a new data platform that will make it possible to quickly gather and share accessible research data about the coronavirus: “The coronavirus-pandemic is confronting us with many new challenges. In order to defeat this virus, we need a vaccine, better methods of treatment, and tests on a large scale. To do that we need research,” says the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
Enhedslisten and Socialistisk Folkeparti wants to have a vaccine production back on Danish hands. “There might have been a short-term economic gain, but we knew it could come back and bite us really hard. That is what is happening now,” says the political spokesman for Enhedslisten, Pernille Skipper.
QUESTIONING SESSION WITH THE PRIME MINISTER IN THE PARLIAMENT
Prime Minister - Mette Frederiksen (Socialdemokratiet) (PM)
Venstre - Jakob Ellemann-Jensen (JE)
De Konservative - Søren Pape-Poulsen (SP)
Nye Borgerlige - Pernille Vermund (PV)
Liberal Alliance - Alex Vanopslaugh (AV)
Dansk Folkeparti - Kristian Thulesen Dahl (KD)
Alternativet - Torsten Gejl (TG)
Det Radikale Venstre - Morten Østergaard (MØ)
Socialistisk Folkeparti - Pia Olsen Dyhr (PD)
Enhedslisten - Pernille Skipper (PS)
We can now see that the Danish strategy was the right one. It was right to act quickly and resolute. We have been saving lives, and the healthcare system did not collapse.
We will now move on with phase two of the reopening of Denmark. It is more complicated than shutting down.
If we lose patience and open too quickly, there will be a risk of setbacks. Therefore we have to open in a controlled fashion.
The reopening of Denmark must happen as quickly as possible, but as slowly as necessary.
JE: The everyday life has been flipped upside-down, and social distance is taking its toll on all of us. The ambition of Venstre is to get Denmark back to the situation before corona as quickly as possible. I am missing a plan for this from the government. It creates insecurity that this plan doesn't exist.
PM: No-one can look more than a few months into the future, and we have to continue keeping social distance until a vaccine is ready. Everybody can feel the desperation all the way into the core. I also have family members, that I cannot see or give a hug. That is the terms at the moment. If it takes quite a while before the vaccine arrives I encourage that we spend more time discussing how we can find another way to be together, that supports fellowship and presence.
JE: I believe the government is running a zig-zag course, and I want to know if the government has a long-term plan or not?
PM: We are following the same plan as always. 1: Save lives. 2: Ensure the healthcare system can handle the unwelcome guest that corona is. 3: To keep a hand underneath companies and employment. I can understand that people want a date for reopening further, but no-one can give that date.
KD: We want to get the Danish democracy and the Parliament back to work, and act as the controller of the government, which we are supposed to be. I hope the Prime Minister is willing to ask corona-related questions once a week, and that the Ministers can be called into consultancy with two days' notice.
PM: There has never been a questioning-hour on a weekly basis, but we are willing to participate in consultations and questioning hours. We are standing here in front of you right now, after all.
KD: It is understandable that people react with fear when they hear a statement that they will have to keep distance for maybe a year.
PM: Maybe it is also a problem, that one single sentence is something that everything must turn around suddenly!
Det Radikale Venstre
MØ: The climate crisis hasn't become smaller in the time we have been fighting corona. The greatest challenge to mankind is still climate change. We want a guarantee from the PM that we will make political decisions regarding climate politics within the summer break.
PM: I share that ambition, and I can definitely give you that guarantee. Of course I can. I do hope though, that everyone will understand that the corona-crisis does take most of my waken hours. But that doesn't mean there isn't time for all the things we have agreed upon previously. There must be time to meet before the summer in order to make decisions regarding the climate.
PD: We would like to know, if the PM, in the clear bright light of hindsight, would have preferred that the Danish vaccine-production hadn't been sold back in 2016? No-one could predict we would be standing in a pandemic and need it, but just like war and terror, it is good to be prepared - also when you, of course, hope you will never have to use it.
PM: The corona-crisis has revealed that we are vulnerable in Denmark because we have been dependant on deliveries of e.g. test kits from other countries. I don't want such a large degree of dependence on other countries if this situation might emerge again, or we get a second wave. That is the case for medicine, respirators, test kits and everything in underneath this sort of umbrella. I will bring up the question of home-production on a national and European level in the EU, and in here is also the question of a European or Danish vaccine-production.
PS: Does the PM believe it was a mistake to sell off the vaccine production? We were critical about the sale of our vaccine production back in 2014, and we were laughed at, when we talked about this as a part of our critical infrastructure. And now we are here - with a clear need to ensure vaccines if it should be created.
PM: I agree regarding the discussion of critical infrastructure. The definition of critical infrastructure has broadened since then. I want to discuss this issue in the EU, so we can have laws in place that protects the critical infrastructure in Europe better. I have no visions, though, of Denmark having public factories that produce visors and hand sanitizer. I trust completely Danish business life.
SP: How does the PM vision the challenges waiting ahead for our society? Is it time to say, that we cannot afford everything?
PM: Are we in a situation where we cannot afford something? Hmm... I cannot write that shopping list for now, but I believe the situation will require much more creativity, in a smart and responsible way, than we have been used to in the economic policy over the last years.
SP: Can the PM imagine that she may have to go back on some of her promises and agreements that have been made of a larger public sector, or does the PM expect that all these corona-initiatives will be financed through tax increases? The piggy-bank has been smashed to pieces, and corona-billions are also real billions, that has to be paid back.
PM: What was important to us prior to the corona-crisis is also important to us now. We don't have a wish of a public sector, that once again must cut down on expenditures. We must really think about which tools we take into use, and not just raise or lower the taxes.
AV: Will the Danes not be free before a vaccine has been developed, and what sort of long-term strategy is the government using in terms of the green curve?
PM: Our long-term strategy is unchanged. 1: Save lives. 2: Ensure the healthcare system doesn't collapse. 3) Ensure our economy gets through this situation as best as possible. We want to be on the green curve - but we haven't said, that we want to be at the top of the green curve. It will also be untrustworthy if I answer when the Danes can be 'free' again. None of us knows, what this disease looks like in a year. No-one knows. But no-one in Denmark can live isolated for a full year. So if the disease stretches out over a long time, we must find other ways to be together.
AV: Other countries are more open about their strategy and their long-term plans. I believe the government is lacking faith in that the Danes can respect restrictions, recommendations and injunctions.
PM: Saying that I do not have faith in the Danes I think is a VERY rude allegation, which I will not accept. You cannot just... to say that I don't have trust in the Danes - building that claim on what? The Danes have just shown, that we have been able to handle such a situation like this one in a phenomenal way. To say that I, as Prime Minister, do not believe in the Danes, is an allegation that I must ask not to have put on me!
TG: Can we learn something from this crisis once we are on the other side?
PM: I definitely believe there is something to be learned from this. Before this, it was really difficult for people to do video conferences and know how to mute the microphone, and suddenly we don't have to get stuck in rush hour, there are certain types of work that can be done from home, and we don't need to travel far in order to meet.
TG: Is the government considering a citizen wage, a basic income, where you don't have to work, in order to receive this benefit?
PM: No! No-no-no-no-no. I must be completely honest and say, that I consider the idea of a basic income as one of the... mmmh... really bad ideas. I think you must go to work and provide for your self and your family.
Questions from the journalists to the Prime Minister
Q: When will the government give the Danes a clear answer whether they can have weddings, confirmations or birthdays during the summer?
A: That depends on the development of this disease. We are reopening our society in a controlled fashion, and with that, there is a risk that we might have to continue with some restrictions or have to go a bit backwards. We will not be able to give a precise answer to what will happen during the summer, I am sorry. I am also one of those who have planned a summer wedding. We can see that large events can be arenas for super spreading, where a lot of people get sick. That's why it has been estimated that we, across the summer period, won't be able to gather more than 500 people at any moment. That way it is possible to plan around this for planners.
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