Danish News Round-Up: Experts and politicians debate use of masks

Health experts and political parties are discussing whether or not to make wearing face masks mandatory to stop the spread of the coronavirus

Denmark may require people to wear face masks, an idea whose merits health experts and politicians are currently debating (photo: Pixabay/leo2014)
July 21st, 2020 3:45 pm| by Gulden Timur
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Public health experts and political parties are debating whether or not to require the use of face masks in public to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

By autumn, Denmark may introduce official recommendations on wearing face masks in public transport, for example. This is the assessment of Professor Jens Lundgren from Rigshospitalet.

Enhedslisten’s health spokesperson, Peder Hvelplund, proposes that people taking the bus, train and metro be required to wear a mask. 

“It is quite reasonable to make it a requirement to wear a mask in public transport because we have a group of citizens who are vulnerable and risk being infected with dramatic consequences,” he said. 

‘May be a good idea’
In Denmark, the use of face masks has not been required. Yet two weeks ago, the National Board of Health announced that they may be used when going for a coronavirus test or in cases of direct contact with those in the risk group.

Lars Østergaard, chief physician at Aarhus University Hospital, said that using masks may be a good idea. “The experience of recent months has shown that you can have the disease without feeling ill, and you can be infected before you develop the disease.”

SF’s health spokesperson, Kirsten Normann Andersen, doubts that requiring people to wear face masks will prevent the spread of the virus. 

“Mask can provide a false sense of security, and then we must first make sure that there is enough for the health staff,” she said. 


Doctors call for abolishing corona special law immediately
In March, the Parliament passed a law that gave the Minister of Health and the Elderly wide-ranging powers to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But with the pandemic under control, some doctors believe there is no reason to keep the law. It is “the biggest violation of the constitution ever”, said Joachim Hoffmann-Petersen, chief physician and chairman of the Danish Society for Anesthesiology and Intensive Care. “I do not see the argument that the constitution should be bent when we have such an incredibly low infection rate as we have, thanks to the fact that the population adheres to the guidelines to such an extent,” he said. There is pressure now from political parties to change the epidemic law as soon as possible.

Campsites crammed to breaking point
Spots in campsites have been sold out in many places for the summer despite the bad weather. DK-Camp and Dansk Camping Union, associations of campsites, reported many bookings and website visitors for the season. Campsite owners are happy with the turnout following a sluggish start in the spring due to the coronavirus lockdown. At DK-Camp, less than 5 percent of its 231 members have available pitches left for tents or places to park their caravan. Campsites have mostly Danish guests and some German tourists.

Coastal towns enjoy tourism boom
Restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels in Danish coastal towns and scenic areas are enjoying a tourism boom, according to industry association Horesta. The group said that many Danes are using the money they saved for holidays abroad to travel in the country instead. However, the situation is different for large cities where tourism continues to suffer due to a lack of foreign guests. The one-metre social distancing rule and the requirement to book a 6-day stay in Denmark limit the arrival of foreign tourists.