Denmark to Close Bars, Clubs, Schools Early as Omicron Spreads
(Bloomberg) -- Denmark introduced a light version of the lockdown it had last winter, limiting opening hours for bars and restaurants and closing schools early for the Christmas break, as the omicron variant is spreading across the Nordic country.
“The Danish economy is very strong” but “we need to do what we can to avoid comprehensive lockdowns,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said late Wednesday at a Copenhagen press briefing. The government will introduce compensation plans for the companies affected by the new curbs, Business Minister Simon Kollerup said at the same event.
Denmark on Wednesday recorded more than 6,600 new infections, a record high and 10 times more the daily rate of two months ago. The Nordic country, with a population of 5.8 million, has fully vaccinated 4.5 million, of which 1 million have received a booster shot.
Denmark, one of the countries to test and sequence the most, has registered 577 omicron cases with six of those currently hospitalized. This week it gave up on an initial strategy to spend extra resources on tracking infections of the variant, which is now spreading through several contamination chains.
“The new variant presents a clear risk to overwhelm the health system,” Frederiksen said.
These were the curbs introduced by the Danish government on Wednesday:
- Bar, clubs and restaurants must close at midnight and stores aren’t allowed to sell alcohol after that time.
- Indoor events, like concerts, with more than 50 standing participants will be banned.
- The duration a vaccine is valid in the Danish corona passport is reduced to 7 months after the last shot, from 12 months before.
- Schools will close early for the Christmas break, shutting down Dec. 15, which is three to seven days earlier than planned, depending on the school district.
- Face masks will now also be required in restaurants; they were already mandatory in retail stores and in public transport.
- The government is recommending that people work from home if they can.
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