Denmark 'shouldn't have to pay for EU's struggles' says Kofod
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Denmark, which has one of the lowest infection rates in Europe, has seen general infection numbers drop after it introduced lockdown measures in December in a bid to curb a more contagious coronavirus variant. In what the nation’s prime minister has called a “calculated risk”, the government will allow stores under 5,000 square metres to reopen, while leisure activities can resume with outdoor leisure activities can resume with an upper limit of 25 people.
Schools in parts of the country will also be allowed to reopen, but will require students to test themselves twice a week.
The measures, which are based on recommendations from an expert advisory group, could send hospital admissions skyrocketing, the government said.
“More activity will also mean more infected and thus also more hospitalisations,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told a press conference, adding COVID-19 admissions could briefly peak at some 880 in mid-April, more than triple the current 247.
Reopening shops is expected to contribute more than 2 billion crowns ($326.92 million) to the Danish economy each month, Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said on Wednesday.
Mr Wammen said: “We have seen other countries that have gone too fast and lost control of the infection. This is a scenario we must avoid.”
A new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus, which has wrought havoc across Europe, became the dominant one in Denmark in February, responsible for more than half of all infections.
The variant has a reproduction value of 1.2, which means it is spreading. Denmark has registered a total of 208,556 infections and 2,343 deaths related to COVID-19.
It comes as Greece’s Prime Minister has decided Athens will not be able to come out of lockdown as cases continue to rise.
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Greece will not be able to lift lockdown restrictions in the wider Athens area on March 1 as previously planned, following a sharp increase in coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday.
Athens metropolitan area, where half of Greece’s population lives, has been under strict lockdown restrictions that were set to expire on Feb. 28.
On Tuesday, authorities reported 2,147 new cases, around half of them in the Attica region around Athens, and 22 deaths.
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