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KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in November 2021

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Rapid Covid-19 testing returns 

Antigen testing for Covid-19, commonly referred to in Denmark as lyntest or rapid testing, returns from Saturday October 30th in high-incidence municipalities Glostrup, Albertslund, Brøndby and Ishøj and will be rolled out to the rest of the country in the following week.

The government made the decision to bring back rapid testing with a capacity of up to 100,000 tests per day in response to escalating coronavirus infection numbers in late October.

Rapid test centres were closed on October 9th, but a stand-by agreement was left in place with private contractors enabling the service to be reinstated at short notice.

The capacity for PCR testing will also be higher in November at 150,000 daily. In October it was 100,000 per day.

READ ALSO: How likely is the return of Covid-19 restrictions in Denmark?

Higher Covid-19 case numbers expected

It’s not a change anyone would hope for, but an increase in the incidence of Covid-19 cases in November need not come as a surprise, nor, indeed a cause for panic.

An expert group working under national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute estimates more cases of the virus as colder weather tightens its grip.

According to the expert group’s estimate, released on October 22nd, the daily infection number will be between 600 and 3,200 by the middle of November, with 25-110 new hospital admissions daily.

This does not mean the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 will increase by this amount daily, because the figure does not take into account discharges from hospital.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: How many infections are expected in Denmark in late autumn?

Fully vaccinated can travel to United States

Fully vaccinated travellers from Europe will be able to travel to the United States from November 8th if they undergo Covid-19 testing and contact tracing. 

US nationals living in Europe and their close family members were able to travel home across the Atlantic despite the outgoing ban, but the strict rules caused difficulty for many.

Brits in Denmark born after 1989 should apply for permanent residency 

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration has advised Brits living in Denmark who were born from 1990 onwards to send in their applications for post-Brexit permanent residency status during October.

The agency said in an open letter published in December that it wanted to stagger the applications to avoid a surge which would overwhelm its staff. However, the dates given were only a request and British residents who have applied ahead of the recommended time have had their applications handled as normal

You apply for residency at the New in Denmark page. 

Lower speed limits could take effect in some areas

If you have memorised local speed limits in your part of Denmark, it’s worth double checking they are still what you think they are.

The ministry of transport in September offered 15 municipalities the option of reducing some local speed limits to 40 kilometres per hour, rather than the regular 50 kilometres per hour.

Municipalities were asked to apply in September to the Danish Road Directorate for participation in the trial, with any approved changes coming into effect in November.

J-day: the unofficial start to the festive season

The first Friday of November is customarily a busy one for bars as Christmas beers or juleøl are launched, not least by brewing giant Tuborg, which releases its iconic julebryg (Christmas brew): hence the term J-dag, J-day.

The event normally results in packed bars with large numbers of patrons ordering the sweet tasting Christmas beer with its characteristic dark-blue-and-snowflake label, even though many Danes are likely to tell you they don’t actually like the taste.

Here’s our explainer of the popular annual tradition, from the archives in 2015.



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German doctor faces charges after administering thousands of self-made vaccines

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A millionaire German doctor is facing criminal charges after vaccinating an estimated 20,000 people with a self-developed vaccine against Covid-19.

Some 200 people were queueing for a jab at the airport in the northern city of Lübeck on Sunday when police arrived and closed down the improvised vaccination centre.

A police spokesman said doctors had already administered about 50 vaccines: not from BioNTech or Moderna or another recognised producer, but a home brew by Dr Winfried Stöcker.

The controversial doctor, who is also the owner of Lübeck airport, insists his jab is 97 per cent effective against Covid-19.

Dr Stöcker was not present, did not administer vaccinations and faces no charges, according to his lawyer Wolfgang Kubicki, a leading member of Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP), which is part of Berlin’s new coalition government.

Lübeck state prosecutors see things differently. On Monday, they announced an investigation into four doctors, aged between 61 and 81, for involvement in the unauthorised vaccination centre.

Dr Stöcker may also face legal action for running an unlicensed vaccination campaign, which is considered a criminal offence under Germany’s Medicines Act. 

Contacted by the Bild tabloid, Dr Stöcker said he had not submitted his vaccine for approval because the process would “take too long and cost millions”.

“We have a responsibility to the patients, not the state, but the police stopped everything,” said the 74-year-old.

In May 2020 Dr Stöcker claimed to have developed a traditional vaccine – without any external assistance – similar to that used against tetanus, using inactive pathogen cells to activate the body’s immune system.

The doctor says he tested the jab on himself and some 100 volunteers before rolling out the vaccinations around the country. In total, he claims some 20,000 people have received a dose of his vaccine.

“Some 2,000 of them are under observation, no side effects were noted to date,” he said. “There were virus breakthroughs in 10 people.”

‘Lubecavax’

On his website, he says his “Lubecavax”, a three-dose vaccine, has proven highly effective. Some 376 friends and colleagues were vaccinated with the substance during the summer, he wrote, and “97 per cent developed high concentrations of antibodies against coronavirus”.

“In our view the ‘Lübeck vaccine’ is safe, effective and presumably the most suitable vaccine for children,” he adds in a blog post. “Doctors have the right to mix together compounds that they believe will help people.”

In this assertion he is drawing on a 2000 German constitutional court ruling which forbade federal authorities from prohibiting an experimental treatment of two doctors using stem cells.

News of the rogue vaccination has horrified German medical authorities. The Paul Ehrlich Institute, which is responsible for approval of medicines and vaccines in Germany, said on Monday it had offered Dr Stöcker assistance with testing in September and December of last year, but that he had not responded to the institute’s offers.

The hurdles to vaccination licensing “are deliberately high”, the institute added, “to ensure the maximum possible security for participants in clinical trials”.

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Denmark school closes due to suspected Omicron Covid-19 case

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Odense Municipality confirmed the closure in a statement on Monday after informing parents and pupils on Sunday evening.

The Danish Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed) said on Monday morning that the case is suspected of being linked to the new Omicron variant.

READ ALSO: Denmark does not rule out new travel restrictions after Omicron variant detected

The authority recommends contact tracing up to “third” contacts, or people who have been in contact with suspected close contacts to the confirmed or “first” case.

Pupils and teachers in the same class as the confirmed or “first” case are considered “second” contacts, with close contacts to the class the “third” link.

People who fall into these categories are asked to isolate at home until they have tested negative on the fourth and sixth days since the potential contact.

The school is closed as of Monday while contact tracing is undertaken.



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Trees go to pot to ensure many festive returns

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Christmas trees aren’t just for Christmas, at least for the Cork business with a pot-grown tree initiative that sees householders rent their tree in early December and bring it back to the farm in early January, to be cared for all year around.

Colm Crowley from Glanmire says his 5ft trees, which are rented out for €40 a year, are a very sustainable way to celebrate Christmas.

Customers can rent or buy a living Christmas tree in a pot from Cork Pot Grown Christmas Trees. The rented ones are then taken back to the farm in Rosscarbery, west Cork, after the festive season.

“I started off with small pot-grown trees and I started selling them for €10 or €15 and a lot of customers were coming in asking, ‘have you anything bigger?’ It got me thinking that there was a market for bigger pot-grown Christmas trees.

‘Always alive’

“With the pot-grown trees, they are never dead. They are always alive. They continue to take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide oxygen as well,” he says.

“They come with a care leaflet. The water would be the big one: making sure they have enough water but not too much because too much would cause root rot,” he says.

“I found that pot-grown trees are very big in America and it has started spreading to Germany and the UK. I knew that Irish people would love it.”

It takes 12-14 years to grow a Christmas tree from seed, with a lot of work involved in pruning, shaping and making the tree perfect.

“It is only used for four weeks. With the pot growns, we get to use the tree over and over. That said, cut Christmas trees are also very environmentally friendly because when a tree is cut in November, another one or two are planted in spring. With the pot growns, between November and spring that cycle continues, so for those few months the Christmas trees continue to take the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide oxygen.”

As rental trees will continue to grow throughout the year, Crowley is anticipating customers not recognising their tree when it is returned to them the following Christmas.

‘Exact same tree’

“They send me pictures looking for the exact same tree,” he says.“With the rentals, you are getting the same Christmas tree you liked and picked out. But it will have continued to grow. There is a lovely smell – you are bringing a bit of forest in your house.”

Crowley says the real Christmas tree business has grown hugely since he first started selling, from his mother Margaret’s house in Ballinlough, Cork city, in 1998 before moving to bigger premises.

Last year was particularly buoyant for sales as families sought to create a festive atmosphere during the pandemic.

“Sales right across the country were probably up around 50 per cent. People wanted a bit of happiness. They needed cheering up.”

Customers are encouraged to name their trees, with the two most popular names being “Spruce Springsteen” and “Woody”.

The father of two adds that he couldn’t survive the December whirlwind without the hard work of wife Jacqui and mother-in-law Rose.



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