Denmark ordered a nationwide shutdown on Wednesday, closing down shopping malls and department stores as Christmas approaches and coronavirus cases surge.
Small shops apart from pharmacies and food stores will also be closed, the Associated Press reports, with businesses expected to shut down on Dec. 25. Hairdressers and beauty shops are expected to close by Dec. 21.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stated the shutdown will be in effect until Jan. 3.
“An epidemic that is running out of control will have major consequences, and greater consequences than shutting down now,” said Frederiksen
Denmark is currently under a partial lockdown which was just extended to include all 98 municipalities in the country. As The Local reports, Health minister Magnus Heunicke said during a press briefing that 1,808 health workers had contracted the coronavirus in the past week, indicating a 70 percent increase in infections.
Heunicke said, "The infection is now everywhere in society and it is at our hospitals. But it is important to say that the health service is still open."
Frederiksen said new compensation packages for business will be negotiated as the lockdown begin.
“We are doing this because an epidemic that runs out of control would have great consequences and bigger consequences than closing down now will have,” Frederiksen said.
In November, the Danish government sought to cull 15 million minks that had become a source of a mutated strain of the coronavirus that had infected several individuals. The monetary loss of the mink was estimated to be nearly $800 million, a cost the Danish government vowed to repay.
According to the World Health Organization's coronavirus data dashboard, Denmark has confirmed 116,087 cases and 961 deaths due to the coronavirus. It is currently in the midst of a surge of new cases, like much of the world, breaking its record for most cases recorded on Dec. 13 with 3,552 confirmed cases.