Denmark’s Parliament Agrees to Ease Lockdown, Stores Reopen
(Bloomberg) -- Denmark’s parliament will ease a lockdown imposed shortly after Christmas by agreeing to open retail stores nationally and schools in some regions amid a decline in Covid-19 cases.
The Nordic nation has been extending the restrictions mainly due to concerns over the fast spread of more contagious variants, while the overall level of infections has stabilized after a sharp decline in January. Denmark is among the leaders in Europe on vaccination, with 6% of the population having received the first shot, according to its health authorities
“We are taking a calculated risk,” Premier Mette Frederiksen told reporters in Copenhagen on Wednesday. “The lockdown is starting to have very grave consequences. But the reopening comes with a price: the more you reopen, the more people will be infected and the more people will be hospitalized.”
The deal will have a positive gross domestic product effect at 2 billion kroner ($327 million) each month and 37,000 Danes will return to work, according to a statement from the Finance Ministry. The decision to ease restrictions will increase the number of hospitalizations in coming weeks to as many as 880 people, according to forecasts from a group of experts. Denmark’s capacity for Covid-related ICU beds is at 940.
The Social Democrat government gathered support for the easing of restrictions from parties in its supporting bloc, while the opposition parties had sought a larger reopening to include schools nationally and smaller businesses like hair dressers. Previous deals have been made with a broad majority in parliament.
Denmark will also allow groups of as many as 25 people to participate in outdoor sports and culture activities. Other restrictions including closures of restaurants and bars will continue through April 5.
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