Coronavirus Round-Up: Unresolved Phase 4 talks expected to continue until Friday

MPs yesterday failed to reach an agreement regarding Phase 4 of the reopening of Denmark following the coronavirus lockdown.

A long day of discussions
Amid escalating infection numbers, particularly among the Somali community in Aarhus, and the possibility that Danish tourists are bringing the virus back from holidays abroad, the public are concerned that Denmark could soon have a second wave of the coronavirus.

As planned, MPs spent yesterday discussing the government’s original proposal to open nightclubs, concert venues and still closed education establishments, but they could not reach an agreement, and talks are expected to continue today and tomorrow.

All up in the air
As things stand, everything is on the table: the possibility of opening nightclubs but with heavy restrictions, an action plan to tackle the increase of infections in the Somali community in Aarhus, and a discontinuation of the requirement for visiting tourists to have proof they will stay for at least six nights.

The blue bloc wants the government to find a solution to the Aarhus problem, but at the same time doesn’t want to harm enterprise.

Doesn’t look good for nightclubs
The limit on more than 100 people gathering in any one location is likely to be extended. And there is still a strong chance that nightclubs won’t be able to open when Phase 4 is implemented on Monday August 17 – particularly if MPs agree on a distinction between nightclubs and venues where live music are played.

MPs have also suggested: swifter coronavirus test results (within 24 hours), more powers to  retain those with the coronavirus who don’t quarantine, further financial aid for industries unable to operate (all aid ends on August 29), free facemasks on public transport, and more incentives for more people to work at home.

SSI to test 18,000 people for antibodies
The Statens Serum Institut is inviting 18,000 random people in Denmark for an antibody test. The 18,000 people will be invited over the next three weeks, starting from next week. In May, when the first extensive antibody tests took place, 1.2 percent of the country’s population were found to have been infected with the virus without knowing. While the survey in May only applied to selected municipalities, this time people from all over the country will be tested. Children over the age of 12 will also be tested.

Norway advises against travelling to two Danish regions
In wake of the increasing number of coronavirus infections in Denmark, Norway now advises its citizens against travelling to two Danish regions: Central Jutland Region and Region Zealand. The travel guidelines will come into effect from August 15, announced Norwegian PM Erna Solberg. The Norwegian National Board of Health has on Tuesday recommended that the two areas should be added to the ‘red areas’. People who come from yellow or red countries are offered a free coronavirus test when they come to Norway. At present, Denmark has not changed its travel instructions to Norway.

Students warned not to gather for puttefester in Dyrehaven this Friday
Out of concern that many high school students will gather to party this weekend to mark the start of their school year, the police are introducing a temporary stay ban in Dyrehaven on Friday. Thousands of students in the capital region observe the  ‘cuddle-party’ (‘puttefester’ in Danish) every year in the park in Klampenborg. Last year alone, the police estimated that 7,000 to 8,000 young people were partying in Ulvedalene in Dyrehaven. The police fear that too many people gather, get drunk, forget to keep their distance and become infected with the coronavirus, according to North Zealand Police. The temporary stay ban will last from 14:00 to 24:00. Violating the ban, such as sitting on the grass, will lead to a fine of 2,500 kroner.

Facemasks compulsory on public transport in six municipalities
Due to escalating cases, facemasks are compulsory on public transport in six municipalities: Aarhus, Silkeborg, Favrskov, Skanderborg, Odder and Horsens. The enforcement will continue until September 1.

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