National Round-up: Gigantic new charging hub will help all taxis go electric by 2025

Meanwhile, the as-yet-unapproved German CureVac jab may reach Danish arms by July, and calls to ditch the facemask when vaccinations are complete grow in Folketinget.

Denmark’s largest electric charging operator E.ON has joined forces with taxi company Dantaxi to open the largest taxi charging hub in the Nordics.

The ‘Danhub’ facility can charge up to 400 electric taxis per day. It’s a huge step towards phasing out Copenhagen’s 1,700 remaining diesel taxis and to go completely green by 2025.

Currently there are around 300 electric taxis in Copenhagen – the majority of which are owned by Dantaxi.

A city of electric taxis
“For the drivers, the problem of finding an available charging station has grown so big that the potential capacity for zero-emission vehicles cannot be fully utilised,” explained Dantaxi’s commercial director, Vibeke Wolfsberg.

“Many taxi owners are looking to change cars. An electric taxi brings more business and lower operating costs, but many have been hesitant because of the lack of charging stations.”

Wolfsberg estimates that Danhub will boost the number of electric taxis in the Danish capital by 200 by the summer of 2022.

An eye on expansion
The hub – which is only open to Dantaxi cabs – is located at Bådehavnsgade 42 in southwest Copenhagen, close to both the airport and the city centre.

If the project is successful, the partners plan to open more charging facilities in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg and Odense.

All parties back facemask withdrawal, but is Socialdemokratiet stalling?
All parties in Parliament share the opinion that mask-wearing should be waived once the vaccination program is complete, according to a survey by TV2.
According to Konservative health spokesperson Per Larsen, “there is no reason to maintain the restrictions in late August or early September, when everyone is fully vaccinated.” Stinus Lindgren and Martin Geertsen, of Radikale and Venstre respectively, agree the corona restrictions should be lifted before they become the “new normal”. The health minister, Magnus Heunicke, refused to comment, though, and speculation is mounting that perhaps the government party Socialdemokratiet has other thoughts on the matter.

New road stripes will make Danish motorways safer
Current motorway markings, which consist of one continuous line, will be replaced with a new design of “offset, teardrop-shaped blobs” in the coming five to eight years. Rain can settle on top of the current road markings, making them difficult to see in the dark. The new road strips disperse water more effectively and therefore ‘glow’ brighter in car headlights. “Drivers feel safer when they can see the stripes better and can position themselves more appropriately on the road,” Michael Larsen, a project manager at the Vejdirektoratet road directorate, explained to TV2.

Denmark’s population has grown by 0.06 percent in 2021 so far
The number of births was 3.4 percent higher in the first quarter of 2021 than the same period in 2020. In real terms, that’s an extra 498 babies. Deaths have also increased in 2021 so far by 1.4 percent. Although the figure is up from last year, it’s 2.1 percent lower than the average for the same time between 2016 and 2020. Overall the population has grown by 0.06 percent during the first quarter of 2021. As of April 1, there were 5,843,347 people in Denmark.

Patients risk becoming blind while waiting months for an eye check-up
Eye patients are facing waits of up to a year to see an ophthalmologist, reports DR. Some are losing their sight or sustaining permanent eye injuries in the meantime. “The problem is the acute patients who are not seen acutely because they do not show symptoms,” said Daniela Bach Holm, a head doctor at Rigshospitalet. While setting up more outpatient clinics would increase capacity, “the challenge is the lack of ophthalmologists,” said Socialdemokratiet MP Anders Kühnau, the chair of the Pay and Practice Committee. “But we are doing everything we can to reduce the waiting time.”

Vaccination calendar is postponed by another week
The national vaccination program has been extended again, with the completion date now estimated to be at the end of August, according to Søren Brostrøm, the head of the Sundhedsstyrelsen health authority. Expectations that the yet-to-be-approved German vaccine from CureVac could be used from early June have also been dashed, with the projected approval date estimated to be later in the summer, according to Sundhedsstyrelsen. Denmark has applied for 9.1 million of the double-dose CureVac jabs – enough to vaccinate almost 4.6 million people.

Folketing open for visitors
On May 10, Parliament opened once more for in-person conferences and committee hearings of up to 50 attendees. Additionally, citizens and interest groups can again enter Parliament as part of a committee to contest or support bills and topics of debate. Open consultations for the public with ministers have been given the green light – although at a limited capacity. Guided tours of the Folketing’s buildings for small visiting groups are also possible. The reopening is initially valid until 4 June.