Denmark closes all universities and schools, sends all noncritical public employees home from March 13. Further restrictions likely.

Severity: Warning Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Aalborg
  • Aarhus
  • Copenhagen

This alert began 11 Mar 2020 21:17 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventative restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least March 31
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, limited services, event cancellations

Summary
Denmark officials have ordered from March 13 the closures of all kindergartens, schools, and universities and have instructed all noncritical public employees to stay home. In addition, authorities have banned all gatherings of more than 100 people through at least March 31. The order impacts concerts, sporting events, and conventions among other events throughout the country. Danish PM Mette Frederiksen also recommended people to work from home if possible.

Authorities are likely to further increase restrictions throughout Denmark in the coming days. While there are no travel restrictions to and from the area, authorities may impose some limitations if the COVID-19 cases increase and spread in the region. As of March 11, there have been 514 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which represents a ten-fold increase since March 9.

Background and Analysis
Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base


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