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People's Daily Online

500,000 Danes in peril of COVID-19 infection in worst-case scenario: health authorities

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 13:16, March 03, 2020

COPENHAGEN, March 2 (Xinhua) -- More than 500,000 Danes could be infected with the novel coronavirus in months in the worst-case scenario, Danish health authorities warned Monday when the number of confirmed cases in the country rose to four.

The National Board of Health and the Danish Patient Safety Authority made the remarks at a joint press conference on Monday after two more cases were confirmed over the weekend, bringing the total in Denmark to four.

Soren Brostrom, director of the National Board of Health, said Denmark should be prepared for a potential steep increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

"We can easily see that 10-15 percent (or 580,000-870,000) of the Danish population could be infected with coronavirus," said the director.

Anette Lykke Petri, a unit manager from the Danish Patient Safety Authority, said that the agency is making every effort to avoid such an eventuality and contain the epidemic.

"Up to 122 healthy Danes are currently in home quarantine. 108 of those in quarantine are related to the four Danes infected with the coronavirus. And the other 14 are in quarantine after being in contact with infected persons abroad," Petri said.

Meanwhile, Bolette Soborg, consultant to the National Board of Health, dismissed the notion that the novel coronavirus is spreading within communities in the country, saying "there is nothing to indicate that there are infected people in Denmark who do not have a connection to the risk areas outside of Denmark."

During the press conference, the National Board of Health representatives also revealed that they were considering further strategies to contain the virus such as discouraging large assemblies, encouraging people to work form home, closing workplaces and extending public holidays, just like what China has done.

"However, the measures I have mentioned are not something we (can) decide with the health authorities. It requires political decisions," Brostrom said.

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