Denmark shouldn't reopen clubs and venues as infections rise, state expert says

Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Tim Barsoe
·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Denmark's national flags are seen in Copenhagen

By Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Tim Barsoe

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark should not allow nightclubs and music venues to reopen given a recent increase in COVID-19 infections and should pause a planned fourth phase of relaxing its lockdown measures, its state epidemiologist said on Tuesday.

"It is not something that I can recommend from a healthcare perspective that you go ahead with," Kare Molbak, a director at the State Serum Institute, told the Danish technology journal Ingenioeren.

Denmark, which has had 616 coronavirus-related deaths, was the first country in Europe to relax its lockdown in April after seeing infection rates steadily decline, but the number of infections has risen in the past couple of weeks.

In an email to Reuters, Molbak, who said in May a second wave of coronavirus was "very unlikely", confirmed the Ingenioeren report and said it was "because the infection pressure is as it is now".

Last week 494 Danes tested positive, up from 246 the week before, according to data from the Institute.

"There is a great deal of risk associated with it, and whether you want to run that risk from a political side, that is a political decision," he told Ingenioeren.

The government and parliament are due to begin discussing the fourth phase of reopening, which includes music venues and nightclubs, on Aug. 12.

Reopening gyms and public swimming pools was originally part of the fourth phase, but these were allowed to reopen in June.

Danish health minister Magnus Heunicke was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Tim Barsoe Editing by Alison Williams and David Holmes)