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Danish football restart with virtual tribune and drive-in cinema

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The Danish Super League is set to restart on May 28 and clubs have been quite inventive when it comes to coping with having to play behind closed doors.

The first match, after a coronavirus-related break of two-and-a-half months, is a regional derby between Aarhus and Randers, then come the last two rounds of the regular season, followed by the championship round with the best six teams.

While the fans can’t come into the stadium in person because of ongoing restrictions, Aarhus are going digital to have them present after all.

Fans can watch the game from 22 different blocks in the stadium in a collaboration with the Zoom video platform.

Some of the fans will also appear on the big screen in the stadium so that the players benefit as well.

Club boss, Jacob Nilsen, believes that getting the fans into the stadium in this way could be copied by others.

“It appears that we will have to play without spectators for a while.

“Maybe we can inspire other clubs to have similar initiatives and that they can profit from it over the next weeks,’’ Nilsen said.

Aarhus are also having their fans fill the seats with cardboard cut-outs and they will arrange a live broadcast at a central square with fans able to watch from their cars.

Runaway leaders Midtjylland have a similar idea named “Drive In Football” – turning their stadium parking area into a drive-in cinema to allow some 10,000 fans in 2,000 vehicles to follow the team’s first match in this way.

The Super League got permission in early May to restart, which gives the Danes a head start over northern neighbours, Sweden where the top two leagues -Allsvenskan and Superettan – are still in talks with health authorities over a June 14 season start pushed back from April.

The leagues’ group SEF has provided a detailed concept and even though Sweden didn’t have as strict lockdown measures as most other countries games will also be played without fans there.

“We play without spectators, only a minimal amount of officials and media will be allowed into the stadium.

“The fans will watch the games in their home towns, on TV or in sports bars,’’ the SEF said.

But fans are gradually to be allowed back, with only every third seat occupied and the standing areas remaining closed.

However, patience is required as the nation’s top epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, told the Aftonbladet paper in mid-May that “we will let you know in early June’’.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

 

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Danish parliament agrees to extend second phase re-openings

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The government together with other parliamentary parties agreed late Wednesday evening to further extend the second phase of the re-opening of Denmark, said a statement released from the Prime Minister’s office here on Thursday.

Museums, theaters, art galleries, cinemas, aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens are now allowed to open immediately, according to the statement.

Danish border controls remain temporarily closed but will be eased from May 25 for persons with “recognizable entry purposes” in the Nordic countries and Germany, for example, holiday homeowners or having a Danish partner.

“There is something special about the borders we are not an island,” said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at a press conference following the agreement.

From May 27, youth and adult educations such as high schools, colleges and language centers will also reopen. Outdoor amusement parks, evening schools, and summer activities for children and young people, including scouting will be allowed to run.

Meanwhile, workers in the public sector can return to work, though due to large regional variations in the prevalence of the COVID-19 infection, there will be an exception for workers of the Capital Region and Region Zealand, which have seen the highest rate of infections.

The agreement also seeks to gradually ease the assembly ban over the summer for selective events.

“From June, we are working towards an assembly ban, which instead of ten people will cover between 30 to 50 people. And we are working to change the assembly ban every month from 8 June onwards,” said Frederiksen.

She continued to advise the maintenance of health measures following the announcement of the deal, stressing that the government could “deviate from the plan” and roll back parts of the gradual re-opening if the pandemic flares up again.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Denmark stands at 11,117, with 554 deaths, out of 412,051 people who have been tested across the country, according to the latest count released by the Danish Statens Serum Institut on Thursday.

(XINHUA)

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Danish, Indian leaders discuss COVID-19, green strategic partnership by phone

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Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Thursday spoke on the phone with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the COVID-19 battle and green strategic partnership, according to a release from the PM’s office on Friday.

The two heads of government agreed to strengthen their exchange of technical experience in dealing with the coronavirus crisis and to increase overall health cooperation between Denmark and India, said the statement.

In addition, the prime ministers agreed to significantly strengthen the relationship between their two countries across a number of sectors, to develop a green strategic partnership between the nations.

(XINHUA)

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Danish Q1 economy shrinks by 1.9 pct

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Denmark’s GDP shrank by 1.9 percent in the first quarter, the biggest quarterly decline since the 2008/2009 financial crisis, according to preliminary figures released Friday by Danmarks Statistik, the country’s central statistics office.

“The Danish economy is clearly affected by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Danmarks Statistik.

“This is especially evident in areas affected by the shutdown in March, especially for passenger transport, hotels, restaurants, public services, culture, and leisure,” the office added.

The only positive takeaway in the new figures comes from commodity-producing industries such as agriculture, industry, and construction, which are showing “no clear signs of a decline,” said the office.

As less data than usual is available because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Danmarks Statistik is expected to revise its calculations as more figures emerge.

Meanwhile, the country’s 2020 GDP may drop 3 percent to 10 percent, Denmark’s national bank estimated in an analysis released in April.

(XINHUA)

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Danish parl’t approves massive aid package to travel industry

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Denmark’s Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs Simon Kollerup unveiled on Tuesday a multi-million dollar “helping hand” to the country’s travel industry.

Supported by nearly all the parties in the Danish Parliament, the travel industry gets access to grants worth 725 million Danish kroner (105.7 million U.S. dollars) for canceled trips.

Six hundred million Danish kroner have been added to the Danish Travel Guarantee Fund for extraordinary situations, such as covering package holidays that had been canceled as a result of the coronavirus crisis before April 13.

A further 125 million Danish kroner have been earmarked as an additional “financial float” in the fund.

“The travel industry was among the first to experience that the coronavirus pandemic affected not only our health but also the economy, and therefore they need a helping hand,” said Kollerup.

The new agreement introduces collective responsibility for loans abandoned and replaced by an individual repayment model scheme through the fund.

In this way, individual responsibility avoids the previous situation where a well-functioning travel company became liable for a competitor unable to pay back their loan.

The new rules will apply to journeys that were to start between April 14, 2020, and May 10, 2020.

The agreement also provides for financial coverage of extra costs incurred by travel providers, including re-booking and return transport.

In addition, a scheme is proposed, where consumers can receive a voucher in the form of a guarantee or gift card for a paid trip canceled due to the travel restrictions. After a year, these vouchers can be exchanged for cash if still unused.

As part of the agreement, the Danish Parliament also agreed to petition the European Union (EU) to propose changes to its travel rules. (1 U.S. dollar = 6.86 Danish kroner)

(XINHUA)

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Second phase of re-openings should be “slow and controlled”: Danish PM

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Denmark will launch the second phase of re-openings after May 10, revealed Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen during a parliamentary inquiry debate on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday.

“The infection is under control, and we have succeeded with the Danish strategy,” said Frederiksen.

“We will soon present the long-term plan for the order of the reopening. So both citizens and businesses know the time perspective for the opening of, restaurants, children’s education, sports, and large centers.”

The prime minister also presented an olive branch to the opposition by saying she would seek agreement among the political parties for “the long-term strategy that has been in demand for the reopening.”

However, she argued it was “difficult to make a final plan when the development of the infection is crucial to what can be reopened.”

“We are still in a health crisis. We must not compromise the health of the Danes,” she said.

According to her, the more health-related, long-term strategy will involve a more offensive testing strategy, more use of protective equipment, more hygiene, the continuation of social distancing, and the avoidance of “super-proliferation” at large assemblies such as concerts and festivals.

The opposition, however, criticizes the government for not being sufficiently open about the plan for the reopening.

The prime minister said that there were many desires for what should be reopened. But the government was “sticking with doing it slowly and controlled.”

“Let me make it clear. The government is not going to be pressured to advance too quickly,” she told the opposition parties during the parliamentary debate.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Denmark stood at 9,008, with a death toll of 443, according to fresh figures from the Danish Statens Serum Institut on Wednesday.

(XINHUA)

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Danish retail sales suffer record decline in March

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Denmark saw a 2-percent drop in sales across the entire retail sector in March, the largest decline in retail sales in 20 years, according to the figures released by Danmarks Statistik, the central authority for Danish statistics, on Monday.

Clothing sales at brick-and-mortar stores took the brunt of the fall with a drop of 26.7 percent, mostly because the stores have to be closed to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“It is frighteningly clear that the outbreak of coronavirus and the partial shutdown of society has triggered a historic dip in Danish consumption,” said Tore Stramer, chief economist at the Dansk Erhverv, a business research organization, to Danish news agency Ritzau.

The only light in the darkness was from internet commerce, which, according to Danmarks Statistik, experienced a whopping 20 percent increase during the March lockdown compared to March last year.

Danmarks Statistik also warned that the decline in retail sales may not be an isolated event since they anticipate a “decline in the current shopping desire among Danes”.

“We will see in April and probably also in May that things will only slowly move forward. But hopefully, we’ve seen the worst,” Stramer was quoted by Ritzau as saying.
(XINHUA)

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Danish parliament agrees to extend gradual re-openings

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All parties in the Danish parliament agreed to extend the first phase of controlled re-opening in the country late Thursday night, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday.

The agreement allows for several small businesses like hairdressers and certain liberal professions and driving schools to reopen from Monday.

The Danish Courts, the Family Court House and Prison Service are also included in the reopening schedule.

In addition, parliament has agreed to the partial reopening of research laboratories for researchers and students.

“No one wants to keep Denmark closed for a day more than most necessary.

“But we must not move faster than we can still keep the epidemic under control,’’ wrote Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, on Facebook on Friday.

The move is being taken “based on advice from the health authorities’’ who, together with the Danish Statens Serum Institut (SSI), the governmental public health and research institution, will present an ongoing comprehensive testing strategy, such as tests for COVID-19 on workers, relatives and vulnerable groups.

In addition, a representative sample of the population will also be tested so that any upsurge in COVID-19 infections can be tracked.

The new agreement also allows those companies that may prefer to remain closed during the lockdown to remain so and continue to receive up to 80 per cent of their fixed expenses under the emergency government aid package.

Partnerships will also be established across authorities, civil society, cultural institutions, private actors and the public sector so that concerned parties can “agree on guidelines for responsible re-openings’’ as well as support the socially disadvantaged, according to the press release.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Denmark has risen to 7,073, while the death toll is 336, according to the latest figures from the SSI on Friday.

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Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Danish border closure enters into force

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Denmark’s borders closed at noon (1100 GMT) on Saturday, meaning that tourists and other foreigners who don’t have an important reason for visiting will not be allowed in.

The Danish government announced the closure late Friday and said it is to be in place until April 13.

Borders were to remain open for deliveries of medicine and food and other important goods, and not affect truck drivers, for instance, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.

Danish broadcasters DR and TV2 showed cement barriers placed at 10 of the 13 land border crosssings to Germany, as part of efforts to divert road traffic to the three crossings where police would check entries round the clock.

Danes will be allowed in to the country as well as people who live or work in Denmark – or people in transit.

The Danish military has been called in to assist police.

The checks apply at road, rail and ferry links, and airports.

Several ferry operators have cancelled and reduced services to neighbouring Norway and Sweden.

YEE

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)

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Former Danish secret service chief fined for spilling secrets

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A Danish appeal court on Friday reduced the sentence for the former head of the Danish secret service, Jakob Scharf, who was charged with revealing classified information in a book about his seven-year term in office.

Scharf was ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 kroner ($1,470), the Eastern High Court ruled.

In early 2019, the Copenhagen city court had handed the former PET chief, a four-month prison sentence.

He was charged with revealing too much about how the service cooperates with other agencies and its operations.

Scharf was charged with breaching a code of confidentiality on 28 points.

The appeal court acquitted Scharf on 27 of the points, although the court was not unanimous on all counts.

The lower court ruled that there were 24 breaches in the book.

During Scharf’s term as PET head between 2007 and 2013, the service was involved in thwarting several terrorist plots, targeting Denmark in the wake of the 2005 publication by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that triggered an international crisis.

The book “7 ar for PET” (Seven Years with the PET) was written by journalist Morten Skjoldager and included interviews with Scharf.

The PET secured an injunction before the planned book’s publication in October 2016, preventing its publication and sales.

However, Danish daily Politiken published the book as a supplement, citing freedom of the press.

The Eastern High Court said the state was ordered to pay the costs for both trials.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde

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