The Week That Was, March 23rd – March 29th 2020:

Posted on 29. Mar, 2020 in: TWTW

Coronavirus/ What happened:

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the two-week lockdown announced on March 11th to curb the spread of the coronavirus wouldn’t be lifted until Easter, at the earliest - during a Skyped video briefing the PM reportedly told the health authorities they need to do better to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that countries like Denmark are facing months of lockdown if they fail to copy China, South Korea, and other Asian countries and adopt an aggressive testing strategy to curb the spread of the coronavirus - the Danish Health Authority (DHA) is now hoping to test at least 5,000 people a day for the coronavirus following criticism of its previous ‘low key’ policy.

16 pallets packed with much-needed protective surgical equipment arrived in Denmark from China - earlier in the week it was reported that the Jack Ma Foundation, run by Asia’s richest man, had donated 500,000 face masks, 50,000 test kits, and 5,000 surgical gowns in response to a request from the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI).

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke apologised for the health authorities’ failure to follow up on a South Korean offer to supply coronavirus testing kits.

The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) projected Denmark will experience negative growth of 6.7% in 2020 which, if correct, would be the worst year for the economy since World War 2.

Former prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen came out in support of U.S. President Donald Trump’s view of the coronavirus pandemic that ‘the cure shouldn’t be worse than the problem.’

The Danish Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed) was forced to back down from its suggestion of a ‘snitch hotline’ where concerned citizens could ‘report’ neighbors or colleagues possibly infected with the coronavirus – at the same time the National Serum Institute urged the government to monitor all mobile phone traffic to provide information for future studies when the coronavirus epidemic is over.

The number of people registering as unemployed has more than tripled since Denmark's government brought its coronavirus lockdown into force, despite bold measures in place to encourage firms to keep employees.

Foreign Affairs/EU:

Minister for Development Cooperation Rasmus Prehn ordered his civil servants to review all projects in Africa to see if they can be suspended, or even cancelled, so the money can be transferred to a ‘stand-by’ fund in the fight against the coronavirus - the government has aside DKK1b ($145m) to combat the threat of an epidemic in Africa, including an extra DKK100m ($15m) to the United Nations (UN) to help combat the global spread of COVID-19.

The EU Commission approved Danish plans to use public financing for the Fehmarn Belt tunnel linking Denmark with Germany.

Nordic foreign ministers joined together to emphasise the value of Nordic cooperation and solidarity ‘in view of the current challenges facing Nordic citizens caught in the corona crisis.’

In a lengthy article in TIME magazine ex-UN Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen questioned how the corona virus could travel 7,000 kilometers from China to Denmark and infect more than 1,000 people in this country, yet in Taiwan, only 138 kilometres from China, only 108 have tested positive out of a population of 23 million.

Denmark is struggling to regain its cherished position as the world’s happiest country - for the third year running Finland is ranked no.1 on the World Happiness Report

Social Affairs:

The government removed the infrastructure spending cap on local authorities, freeing up around DKK 10bn this year that can now be spent on renovating schools, sports halls, and building new roads

Although Queen Margrethe has cancelled all pubic celebrations of her 80th birthday more than 120,000 Danes have announced they will still sing on April 16th

A 40-year-old Norwegian-Iranian was charged with assisting an Iranian intelligence agency to plan an assassination in this country - the man was arrested in October 2018 over a suspected plot to kill an Iranian Arab opposition figure in Denmark.

Business:

The National Bank auctioned off U.S. dollars in an effort to cushion the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak - Governor General Lars Rohde said Denmark will do 'whatever it takes' to defend its currency’s peg to the euro.

Consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest level for eight years as the coronavirus has taken hold - the latest Statistics Denmark figures showed Denmark’s consumer confidence fell sharply in March to 0.4 in from 3.3 February.

Shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk reported higher 1st quarter (Q1) earnings, around $1.4 billion, but scrapped its full-year forecast due to uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

LEGO is going ahead with plans to open 80 new stores in China this year despite the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

And That Was the Week That Was, March 23rd – March 29th 2020: To read all the above articles in full see: http://seven59.dk/archive (subscription required).

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