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11 Mar 2020 | 09:38 PM UTC

Denmark: Government closes schools and universities due to COVID-19 March 11 /update 3

Authorities suspend schools and universities, and ban all indoor events with more than 100 participants on March 11; further spread of the virus expected

health
DNK

Event

On Wednesday, March 11, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the closure of all schools and universities from Friday, March 13, and all day care facilities for two weeks from Monday, March 16, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The government has also further restricted gatherings by banning all indoor events with more than 100 participants, from 1000 previously. In addition, public servants in non-critical functions will be sent home on paid leave.

Denmark's Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously announced on Tuesday, March 10, that all flights arriving from areas considered "high-risk" due to COVID-19 would be suspended for at least 14 days. High-risk areas include Italy's Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Veneto, Marche, and Valle d'Aosta regions, as well as Iran, Ischgl (Austria), Hubei province (China), and Daegu city and Gyeongbuk province in South Korea. Individuals arriving in Denmark from high-risk areas will not be allowed to enter the airport or use public transportation.

The Danish Patient Safety Authority confirmed 340 cases of the virus nationwide as of Wednesday, March 11. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.  
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.