COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -The new Omicron coronavirus variant has spread across Denmark, health authorities said after registering large outbreaks of the variant in the east and west of the country.
Denmark is currently seeing record high infection numbers in the third wave of its epidemic, propelled by the Delta-variant, but authorities fear the Omicron variant could spread further in the country, which has so far avoided lockdown measures.
“We now have society-wide infection with the Omicron variant,” director of the Danish Patient Safety Authority, Anette Lykke Petri, told reporters.
Denmark has registered a total of 398 cases of infection with the variant first identified in South Africa, but which now exists on every continent in the world except Antarctica.
The spread of the variant in Denmark had accelerated via outbreaks at large concerts and Christmas parties, authorities said, adding that 90% of new infections are coming from inside Denmark rather than from abroad.
Denmark has logged 6,234 infections in the last 24 hours, the highest ever. Daily hospitalisations and deaths, however, are not nearly as high as during the height of the epidemic in December last year because of a high vaccination rate.
Separately on Tuesday, Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke tested positive for COVID-19 and is now self-isolating in a hotel in Brussels, the health ministry said.
Heunicke had stayed in his hotel room and not been in contact with other ministers, Denmark’s permanent representation in the EU told Reuters.
Photo – A view of a part of the statue Nilen (Nile) which has 16 little bronze children crawling on it that every year are dressed in red elves hats and protective face masks in Copenhagen, Denmark. EPA-EFE/Liselotte Sabroe