With 23 confirmed infections in the country at the time of writing, authorities in Denmark have asked for all events in March with attendances of over 1,000 to be cancelled or postponed.
In addition to cancelling concerts or fulfilling sports fixtures in front of empty stadia, the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen, DHA) has encouraged people in Denmark not to shake hands, kiss or hug each other given the risk of coronavirus spread in the country.
None of the country’s 23 (so far) confirmed cases have been described as being in critical condition, and one has been declared back to full health. As such, Friday’s cancellations and advice can feel drastic.
There are a number of reasons behind the measures, authorities including the police, DHA and Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Friday.
One is the potential impact on the country’s economy of widespread illness.
“The measures have been chosen to limit the spread of infection and to mitigate the consequences for society as a whole. This is a virus that we can expect to have major consequences for businesses and consequences for the economy,” Frederiksen said.
Events with large attendances increase the rate of spread of infections because of the close proximity of large numbers of people, the PM also said.
Although DHA says it expects Denmark’s infection numbers to further increase, measures can be taken to prevent the extent of infection, the authority’s director Søren Brostrøm said at a press briefing reported by DR.
Frederiksen meanwhile stressed that she would “rather our authorities go a step too far than a step too short” in introducing rules, advice and precautions.
“This is not an overreaction. With the overall situation we are seeing with infections, it is authorities’ clear assessment that all that can be done must be done now. If we wait, we risk being too late,” the PM said.
“Experience from other disease situations has shown that it is effective to intervene early,” Brostrøm said.