Denmark has become the first European state to set a timetable for the reopening of the country after the COVID-19 outbreak, following a state of lockdown that began on the 11th of March.
Mette Frederiksen, the country's Prime Minister, has announced a gradual easing of restrictions set to begin after Easter. Although details remain unclear, Ms Frederiksen explained that the return to normal rules would probably have to be staggered to avoid rush hours and overcrowding in shops and on public transport. Ms Frederiksen also made it clear that the borders would remain closed for the foreseeable future to avoid new infections coming into the country.
Denmark, which has had 2,577 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 77 deaths, was one of the first countries in Europe to close its borders and go into lockdown.
to foreigners and to shut down its schools as the government tried to “flatten the curve” of infections.
She also underlined that the Danish border would not open yet. “We will, of course, not pick up new infections from outside,” she added. Low levels of government debt are part of the country's successful response to the crisis and ambitious economic policies. Good governance of public finances in recent years means Denmark is in a strong position for recovery.
However, a press release from the Danish Central Bank urges caution. Its latest projection is more pessimistic than that of economists at the country's biggest banks, as the central bank warns the export-driven economy will continue to suffer from weak demand from abroad even after Danish society reopens.
In a statement, the bank's Governor, Lars Rohde, that the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures implemented to contain its spread have led to a sharp contraction in economic activity. Danes have also changed their behaviour by reducing social contact and generally spending less, which has a negative impact on the economy.
Mr Rohde goes on to say "In Denmark, our starting point for getting the economy back on track when the outbreak subsides and the measures are rolled back is strong. But it is going to hurt, before we get there."
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