Denmark Covid-19 surge leads to school closures, nightlife curbs

Customers outside a bar in Copenhagen on April 23, 2021. Denmark on Nov 8 recorded 6,629 new cases of Covid-19. PHOTO: REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (AFP) - Denmark will close schools, curtail nightlife and urge citizens to work from home to try to stem surging Covid-19 cases, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Wednesday (Dec 8).

The authorities will add "a few days" extra on either side of the Christmas school holidays, she said.

The holidays will now run from Dec 15 to Jan 5, instead of Dec 17 to Jan 3.

"The plan is not to have a long closure," she added. "We know how important being in school is for the well-being of children."

Bars and restaurants should close at midnight from Friday, and the sale of alcohol will be forbidden after that hour.

Ms Frederiksen recommended that people work from home.

"I know that for many, it will be an unwelcome return to the home office... But right now, it's deemed necessary," she said.

Dr Henrik Ullum, head of the Danish authority for the control of infectious diseases, said the situation was "extremely serious".

He said the advent of the new Omicron variant was "disagreeable... as it has spread across the word fast".

Denmark on Wednesday recorded 6,629 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, at least 2,000 more than during the worst daily caseload in the country in December last year.

After living without coronavirus restrictions for about two months, the country last month reintroduced its Covid-19 pass and mandatory face masks.

It has counted 577 confirmed Omicron cases after first recording the strain on its soil on Nov 22.

Denmark, with a population of 5.8 million, has recorded 2,986 Covid-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to an AFP tally.

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