Coronavirus Round-Up: Park and beach usage up 35 percent compared to last year

You can blame it on the sunshine, but the nation’s public parks and beaches have seen a 35 percent increase in activity since mid-February. Like the song said, we just can’t control our feet.

The figure is part of a huge report just released by Google, which has used its vast collection of location data to determine how people from around the world are adhering to the coronavirus pandemic guidelines by staying at home.

A total of 131 countries have been assessed – including Denmark – with the purpose of assisting the health authorities. The analysis measures current activity compared with activity from before the coronavirus outbreak.

Less at work, on transport and in the supermarkets
In general, activity nationwide in Denmark has decreased by 37 percent since mid-February.

Supermarkets and workplaces have seen a 22 and 28 percent decline in activity respectively, while public transport stations have seen a 60 percent decline.

Google has emphasised that all published information is anonymous and not based upon individuals, but broader data trends.

DTU develops lightning test for coronavirus that yields results in 30 minutes
In the fight against the coronavirus, researchers at DTU have developed a lightning test for coronavirus that can yield a result in 30 minutes. The research team believe that testing up to 10,000 a week will be possible if the test is approved for use. The tests have shown compliance of 97.6 percent – meeting the WHO’s requirement of 95 percent compliance. According to TV2, a patient is tested with a cotton swab, after which the cotton swab is heat-treated. It doesn’t require a computer either any medical knowledge. It is ideal for mobile test stations.

Roskilde confirms cancellation
In case there was any doubt, the Roskilde Festival has today confirmed it has been cancelled. Last night the Danish government ruled that no big events would be held until the end of August. This year’s Roskilde Festival should have taken place from June 27 to July 4, and it would have been the 50th anniversary. Festival-goers have the option of getting their ticket transferred to 2021, or getting a full refund. Among the other victims of the extended ban are the street festival Distortion, which was postponed from early June to late August.

Hospitals challenged by incorrect test results
Hospitals are being challenged about some erroneous results concerning the coronavirus. A consultant from Hvidovre Hospital told TV2 it is normal for test results to have some uncertainty – the coronavirus test kits themselves confirm there is 15 percent uncertainty. Accordingly, patients with symptoms are tested again if the result turns out negative. However, Aarhus University Hospital believes that the results of only about 1 percent of the tests are uncertain. According to the hospital, 452 of the 4,726 people tested in central Denmark region have needed to provide two or more samples.

Government sets aside 290 million for coronavirus efforts
The business minister, Simon Kollerup, has announced that “the government is working on aid packages and initiatives to help workers and businesses through the corona pandemic” by using the EU Structural Funds. In addition to the remaining Structural Funds from the 2014-2020 program period, up to 280 million kroner will be introduced as advance payments to existing Structural Fund operations.

Denmark first in world to test Japanese meds on coronavirus
Aarhus University Hospital has absolutely confirmed it will go ahead and test camostat mesylate, a Japanese drug that had an effect on the SARS outbreak in 2003, on coronavirus patients. Originally the drug marketed to treat pancreatitis. Although Germany tested the drug last month, Denmark will be the first place in the world where the medicine will be tested on a large number of patients. Nine hospitals including Aarhus University Hospital are aiming to test 180 patients over the coming months with the drug. Researchers hope to have results in three months.

Parliament breaks 225-hour rule
The employment minister, Peter Hummelgaard, has stated on Twitter that there is broad agreement in Parliament to suspend the ‘225-hour rule’ following a meeting with the Parliamentary Employment Committee. The so-called 225-hour rule means unemployment benefit claimants must work at least 225 hours a year in order to receive full cash benefits. The rule has been made virtually impossible to satisfy given the severe economic impact of the coronavirus. Initially, the rule will be suspended retroactively from March 9 until June 9, and the period could be extended if deemed necessary by the government.

Folkemødet cancelled
The annual Folkemødet gathering on Bornholm, the ‘Roskilde Festival of politics’, was cancelled due to the current coronavirus crisis following a meeting of its board on Friday afternoon, April 3, just hours before the government cancelled it anyway. The assembly, where interest groups, politicians, companies, and ordinary Danes convene for one large political gathering, was due to take place from June 11 to 14. Its founder Bertel Haarder calls the gathering “a political ‘Roskilde Festival’ with less beer and more talk”. It is modelled on an annual Swedish general meeting that has also been cancelled (last Thursday), which was scheduled two weeks after the Danish event. 2011 was the inaugural year for Folkemødet, and the event has grown in popularity ever since with over 45,000 in attendance in 2019.