Denmark Closes Borders as Efforts to Fight Virus Escalated

(Bloomberg) -- Denmark’s government is temporarily closing the country’s borders and will bring in the military to help fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The measures are needed to stem the contagion, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference in Copenhagen on Friday.

“We’re painfully aware that this will have severe consequences” for businesses and families, Frederiksen said. But the evidence suggests the extreme reaction is justified, she said. The prime minister added that she herself had been tested for the virus, after feeling unwell, but that the result was negative.

“We can see how the situation in Italy developed in a catastrophic direction,” she said. “Everything we’re doing is to ensure that we get through this situation in a different way.”

Essential items such as food and medicine will still be allowed into the country, as will other imports. Danes, Danish residents and green card holders abroad trying to re-enter will be let in, Frederiksen said. For everyone else, the country’s borders will be closed until April 14 and people arriving in Denmark will be sent back.

Frederiksen said Denmark coordinated its decision with Brussels and with its neighboring countries. The so-called Schengen rules that enable passport-free travel across much of Europe have not been suspended, but the current emergency allows for exceptions, according to an official in the Danish government.

Denmark currently has 801 confirmed cases of the virus, with four in a critical condition. Frederiksen said the government is expecting that number to increase, even with the latest measures.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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