Denmark may gradually lift lockdown after Easter if coronavirus numbers stay stable: PM

A file photo taken on Feb 4, 2019, shows traffic and pedestrians in Copenhagen, Denmark.
A file photo taken on Feb 4, 2019, shows traffic and pedestrians in Copenhagen, Denmark.PHOTO: NYTIMES

COPENHAGEN (REUTERS) - Denmark may gradually lift a lockdown after Easter if the numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths stay stable, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday (March 30).

The Nordic country, which has reported 77 coronavirus-related deaths, last week extended a two-week lockdown to limit physical contact between its citizens that began on March 11 until after Easter.

"During the past week the number of hospital admissions has risen slightly slower than the week before," Ms Frederiksen told a press conference.

"If we over the next two weeks across Easter keep standing together by staying apart, and if the numbers remain stable for the next two weeks, then the government will begin a gradual, quiet and controlled opening of our society again, at the other side of Easter," she said.

A reopening would likely include people attending schools and work in shifts to avoid rush hour traffic and too many people gathering at the same time, she said.

The country has restricted public assembly to 10 or fewer people and ordered the closure of schools, universities, day cares, restaurants, cafes, libraries, gyms and hair salons.

"We do see signs that we have succeeded in delaying the transmission of corona in Denmark. The transmission is spreading slower than feared," Ms Frederiksen said.

She said she hoped to be able to present a plan for the first phase of the reopening by the end of this week after consultation with the other parties in government.