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World

Denmark introduces new restrictions as virus cases surge

  • The new restrictions will remain in force until at least October 1.
15 Sep 2020

COPENHAGEN: Faced with a rise in new coronavirus infections, Denmark on Tuesday announced new restrictions as the prime minister called for people to respect recommendations aimed at reducing the spread.

Mette Frederiksen pointed out that health officials were warning the country "was on the edge of a second wave."

"Infections are at a high level. The number of hospitalisations has risen," she said in a message posted on Instagram.

"Now is when it counts. We need to follow the recommendations of the authorities," she continued.

The Danish agency for infectious diseases SSI, which operates under the health ministry, has advised Danes to create a "social bubble."

"We need to find maybe five or ten people to hang out with. It is with them that we will spend the autumn," Kare Molbak, director of SSI, told a press conference.

New restrictions were introduced in the capital Copenhagen and its suburbs, where bars and restaurants must close their doors at 10 pm.

The country has reported more than 300 new cases for the fourth consecutive day in the Scandinavian country of 5.8 million inhabitants, a level mirroring that of April.

"One in five (new) patients is between 20 and 29 years old. That is why the restrictions target nightlife," Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said during the joint press conference.

Both customers and staff in bars and restaurants will be required to wear face masks when not seated.

The number of spectators allowed at football matches will also be reduced to 500.

And people organising social gatherings at home are encouraged to send guests home at 10 pm.

In the rest of Denmark, bars and restaurants can stay open until two am, with the exception of the city of Odense which recently experienced a surge in cases and where doors close at midnight.

The new restrictions will remain in force until at least October 1.