Coronavirus: Denmark allows young children to go back to school


Danish Prime Minister welcomed children on return to school in Valby on Wednesday

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Danish Prime Minister welcomed children on return to school in Valby on Wednesday

Children up to the age of 11 are returning to nurseries and schools across Denmark, with the government becoming the first in Europe to relax the coronavirus restrictions on education.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen greeted the children when they returned to school in the capital Copenhagen.

Denmark was one of the first countries in Europe to impose a lockout, with schools closed on March 12.

Infection rates have been low but critics warn the strategy is risky.

“We are all a little nervous and we will have to make sure we follow hygienic rules,” Elisa Rimpler of BUPL, the Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators, told the BBC.

“We have to wash our hands a lot during the day. We do not have masks and we have to keep a good distance from each other, so this is a very difficult task. “

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Nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools were allowed to open after more than a month

Denmark is one of the many countries that have taken steps to ease the lockdowns this week:

  • Austria reopened thousands of small shops on Tuesday
  • The Czech government has established a five-step timetable
  • Spain has authorized the reopening of non-core businesses
  • Italian youth bookstores and clothing stores have reopened in some areas

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is due to draw up a roadmap for the lifting of restrictions in the 27-state bloc on Wednesday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss easing the restrictions on Wednesday with the country’s 16 most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, already planning a return after the Easter holidays.

What has Denmark done?

To date, Denmark has reported 299 deaths and 6,681 positive cases, but many more are believed to be infected.

He was widely praised for his rapid action in restricting movement before Covid-19 infections could spread through the population – which compares him to South Korea.

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Media captionFitness guru Joe Wicks runs free online PE classes for single children

The head of the SSI Institute for Infectious Diseases said Denmark had successfully reduced the number of others infected with a positive case from 2.6 people before the March 12 closure to 0.6.

Tyra Grove Krause said on Danish television that success has proven how social isolation, hygiene and other measures such as working from home can work.

The Prime Minister said that so much progress had been made that she was discussing with her political partners how to move forward with further easing of the restrictions.

During a visit to a school in the capital’s Valby area, Frederiksen said she understood that some parents still preferred to keep their children at home.

Some politicians have expressed concern about the lack of clarity in the guidelines for who should go back to school. The schools themselves will decide whether staff in a risk category should be at work or stay at home.

What’s going on in Germany?

Angela Merkel meets with cabinet ministers on Wednesday before discussing easing measures with the 16 German states.

Among the measures evaluated, the main one is how to reopen schools in the country, which is one of the recommendations of the 26 scientists from the Leopoldina Academy of Sciences who advise the government.

Schools should follow hygienic rules when they open, then stores and restaurants could follow as long as social distancing is observed, the academy said. Everyone should wear masks in public, with a strategy based on reducing the rate of infection.

The German public health institute RKI said that the number of deaths has increased by 285 in the past 24 hours to 3,254, which is relatively low for a population of 83 million. It now has 127,584 positive cases.


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