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Denmark drops plan to lift curbs on public gatherings…

COPENHAGEN, Aug 6 – Denmark will not raise a limit on public gatherings, originally planned for this month, after seeing a spike in COVID-19 infections, the Danish health ministry said late on Thursday.

As part of the Denmark’s gradual reopening following a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the government had planned to raise the limit on public gatherings to 200 people on August 8, up from the current limit of 100 people.

“It is crucial that we maintain the good position Denmark is in, where we have the epidemic under control,” health minister Magnus Heunicke said.

The Nordic country’s authority on infectious diseases, Statens Serum Institut, would not recommend lifting the limit, the ministry said, as any easing of public gatherings would increase infection risk.

On Tuesday, Denmark’s state epidemiologist had advised against going through with the planned fourth reopening phase, which includes allowing music venues and night clubs to reopen, due to the current infection pressure.

In a response, health minister Heunicke said the government would not propose any moves, which were not responsible from a healthcare perspective.

“If that is the authorities’ recommendation, then we will not do it,” Heunicke told public broadcaster DR on Tuesday.

The government and parliament are due to discuss the fourth phase of reopening on Aug. 12.

Denmark, which has had daily increases in COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks, was one of the first countries in Europe to gradually lift lockdown restrictions in April after seeing infection rates decline steadily.

(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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