‘Bitter’ Defeat Ends Denmark’s Dream After Emotional Euro 2020 Ride

A Danish football fan sits at Kildeparken in Aalborg after Denmark was defeated by 2-1 in the UEFA Euro 2020 semi-final football match between England and Denmark on late July 7, 2021. (Photo by Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP) / Denmark OUT



Denmark’s run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals was even more of a fairytale for the nation of five million people after their near-tragic start to the tournament.

On the opening weekend of the Euro, Christian Eriksen, his country’s star player for the best part of a decade, collapsed on the field against Finland after suffering a cardiac arrest.

As his teammates formed a protective circle around the Inter Milan midfielder to shield him from the cameras, captain Simon Kjaer and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel consoled his sobbing partner on the side of the pitch.

Thanks to the rapid medical response, Eriksen was resuscitated after one defibrillation and able to leave hospital less just six days later.

Three-and-a-half weeks on from the incident, Denmark were still in contention to repeat their shock success at Euro 92, which they won having initially failed to qualify thanks to Yugoslavia’s expulsion.

In the end, lightning did not strike twice. England, roared on by a 65,000 crowd at Wembley, booked their place in the final of a European Championship for the first time with a controversial 2-1 win after extra time.

The winning goal came about after a dubious penalty was awarded for Joakim Maehle’s challenge on Raheem Sterling.


Denmark’s players react to their defeat in the UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final football match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium in London on July 7, 2021. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP)


Schmeichel — a hero on and off the field for Denmark — saved Harry Kane’s spot-kick, but the England captain swept home the rebound to spark jubilant scenes of celebration.

“One thing is to lose a game, but losing this way is a disappointment because these guys have fought a lot,” said Danish coach Kasper Hjulmand. “It’s a bitter way to leave a tournament.”

– Physical and mental toll –
In time, Denmark will reflect on a emotional rollercoaster with nothing but pride for a squad who played plenty of slick football to go with their determination, courage and fight.

Russia and Wales were swept aside in four-goal thrashings before seeing off the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals.

But that 9,000 kilometre (5,592 mile) round-trip to Azerbaijan and the physical and mental toll of the past month finally caught up with Hjulmand’s men.

After Mikkel Damsgaard’s stunning free-kick put them 1-0 up at Wembley, Kjaer’s own goal left them struggled to resist wave upon wave of English attack.

“I can’t describe with words how much I admire the technical staff behind these players. They have been through so much. Two of them saved the life of one of our best players,” said Hjulmand, reflecting on his side’s journey.

“We have been fighting like crazy, we played good football and I am grateful for the entire nation. We needed the support, the empathy, after what happened with Christian.


Denmark’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel reacts at the end of the UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final football match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium in London on July 7, 2021. (Photo by Andy Rain / POOL / AFP)


“We’ve been receiving a lot of love and support, it was amazing to feel. Unfortunately we didn’t get to the final but our future is full of hope and belief. These guys are outstanding and a whole nation can be proud.”

Amid complaints about the controversial penalty call from Dutch referee Danny Makkelie and a format that has seen England benefit from home advantage for six of their seven games, there was immense pride in Denmark on Thursday.

“The national team lost the match but won the whole kingdom,” said the Politiken newspaper.

Denmark’s talented generation will fancy their chances of another long run with the World Cup in Qatar just 16 months away.

But after seeing pre-tournament favourites France as well as Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands bow out, their chance to emulate the heroes of Euro 92 may have gone.

“It’s been emotional for the entire team,” said Barcelona forward Martin Braithwaite. “It’s amazing to be Danish and be part of this. We wanted to be in that final so this is a great disappointment.”

Denmark Outclass Wales To Reach Euro 2020 Quarter-Finals

Denmark's forward Martin Braithwaite (C) shoots and scores his team's fourth goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Wales and Denmark at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 26, 2021. Koen van Weel / POOL / AFP
Denmark’s forward Martin Braithwaite (C) shoots and scores his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Wales and Denmark at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 26, 2021. Koen van Weel / POOL / AFP


Denmark marked the 29th anniversary of their greatest triumph by marching on to the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 on Saturday as Kasper Dolberg scored twice in an emphatic 4-0 win over Wales before an exultant travelling support in Amsterdam.

In the city where Christian Eriksen made his name, it was Dolberg –- another former Ajax player –- who opened the scoring with a fizzing strike in the 27th minute.

That came after Wales had started so well but Denmark never looked back and Dolberg struck again just after the restart before Joakim Maehle and Martin Braithwaite added more goals late on.

Carried by a wave of emotion, Danish dreams are still intact in a tournament that began in such traumatic circumstances for them with Eriksen’s collapse in their opening match against Finland in Copenhagen.

They now go on to a last-eight tie in Baku against the Netherlands or the Czech Republic.

Eriksen, still recovering at home after his cardiac arrest, was present in everyone’s minds at the home of Ajax, and that combined with a vast Danish support inside the one-third full Johan Cruyff Arena made this occasion really like a home game for them.

European champions against all odds when they beat Germany in the final on this day in 1992, Denmark finally have their first win in the knockout phase of a Euro since then and it would be a truly extraordinary story if they could repeat the feat this time.

Nobody in Denmark will want to get ahead of themselves but Wales — who finished with 10 men after Harry Wilson’s late red card — could certainly have no complaints about the outcome and there will be no repeat of their run to the semi-finals at Euro 2016.

Wales up against it

They needed a moment of magic from captain Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey which never came, but in truth they were up against it from the outset.

Aside from the universal goodwill towards Denmark following Eriksen’s collapse, a ban on travellers from the United Kingdom entering the Netherlands meant there were very few Welsh supporters inside the stadium.

Danes, in contrast, descended in their droves on Amsterdam, creating an atmosphere not far off that seen at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen when they beat Russia to qualify for the last 16 — even the Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, was in attendance.

To their credit Wales started well, with the probing Bale leading by example in the early stages.

He crashed a shot just wide in the 10th minute, but then Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen –- Denmark’s third centre-back –- stepped up into midfield and they took control.

Denmark's players celebrate after winning the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Wales and Denmark at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 26, 2021. Piroschka van de Wouw / POOL / AFP
Denmark’s players celebrate after winning the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Wales and Denmark at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on June 26, 2021. Piroschka van de Wouw / POOL / AFP


They were rewarded when Dolberg, now of Nice in France and selected ahead of Yussuf Poulsen in attack, collected the ball just outside the area and unleased a superb strike into the far corner of the net.

For Wales, the signs that it was not to be their night kept coming, as right-back Connor Roberts suffered a groin injury and had to come off.

Then giant striker Kieffer Moore was booked for a foul on Danish captain Simon Kjaer, meaning a suspension for the next round if Wales made it through.

Robert Page’s side would not make it through as they fell further behind three minutes into the second half.

Neco Williams, the Liverpool full-back who had replaced Roberts, tried to clear a Braithwaite cross but only succeeded in playing the ball straight to Dolberg who seized the chance to make it 2-0.

Bale and his teammates felt there had been a foul on Moore at the start of the move but the German referee waved away the complaints and the only surprise was that it took until the dying minutes for more goals to come.

Mathias Jensen picked out the unmarked Maehle to score the third in the 88th minute, before Wilson saw red for a foul on Maehle and Braithwaite made it 4-0, a goal given after a lengthy VAR review.


Eriksen Reassures As Denmark Try To Move On With Euro 2020

Denmark’s midfielder Christian Eriksen runs during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel / various sources / AFP)


Denmark’s Christian Eriksen on Tuesday published a photo of his tired but smiling face from his hospital bed after his collapse during his country’s opening Euro 2020 game, as UEFA defended the decision to resume the match.

In a scene that shocked the sporting world and beyond, the 29-year-old Inter Milan midfielder suddenly collapsed on the field in the 43rd minute of Denmark’s Group B game on Saturday against Finland in Copenhagen.

“I’m fine — under the circumstances, I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay,” he wrote in a post to Instagram accompanying a photo of him smiling and giving a thumbs-up while lying in bed.

“Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world. It means a lot to me and my family,” he wrote in the post, which has been liked more than 3.5 million times.

“Now, I will cheer on the boys on the Denmark team in the next matches. Play for all of Denmark.”

Medical personnel administered CPR as he lay motionless on the field for about 15 minutes before being carried off the pitch and rushed to hospital.

He was later confirmed to have suffered cardiac arrest.

– Irreplaceable –

On Sunday, team doctor Morten Boesen said he had “no explanation” for the event.

The Danish Football Union (DBU) has been tight-lipped about the midfielder’s condition, reporting that he is “stable” but declining to answer questions about his prospects of returning to the field.

“He has to undergo different examinations, and as long as we don’t have the conclusions from that we cannot comment,” DBU spokesman Jakob Hoyer told a news conference.

The team’s coach, Kasper Hjulmand, said Tuesday Eriksen had watched the last 10 minutes of Denmark-Finland from hospital and was in daily contact with the team, giving them some reassurance ahead of their upcoming clash with Belgium — ranked number one in the world by FIFA.

“We can focus more and more on football and prepare for the game,” Hjulmand told a press conference, but admitted that some players might still be rattled by the game on Thursday.

“We will prepare ourselves as well as possible, but it will be emotional for sure. But we should use these emotions for the match, and get ready to fight,” Hjulmand said.

Hjulmand also didn’t want to go into details about who would replace Eriksen in the line-up.

“No one can replace Christian. No one. It’s not possible… He is the heart of the team ,” the coach said.

“We will do something else, we’ll do something different but we will definitely have a strong team on the pitch.”

– ‘With utmost respect’ –

While insisting the squad was made up of “real warriors”, the coach also lamented what he described as the pressure from UEFA to decide on a resumption of the match.

“I feel the players were put under pressure… and faced with a dilemma” about whether to resume the match on Saturday or Sunday lunchtime, Hjulmand said.

On Monday, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel regretted being put in a position that he personally felt the team “shouldn’t have been put in”.

UEFA defended itself on Tuesday, saying in a statement to AFP “it treated the matter with utmost respect for the sensitive situation and for the players”

“It was decided to restart the match only after the two teams requested to finish the game on the same evening,” the football body said.

UEFA also pointed out that its statutes require players to rest for 48 hours between matches and categorically denied “that either team was threatened with a forfeit”.


Denmark’s Eriksen ‘Awake’ In Hospital After Collapse In Euro 2020 Game

Denmark's players gather as paramedics attend to midfielder Christian Eriksen (not seen) during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. WOLFGANG RATTAY / AFP / POOL
Denmark’s players gather as paramedics attend to midfielder Christian Eriksen (not seen) during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. WOLFGANG RATTAY / AFP / POOL


Denmark’s star player Christian Eriksen collapsed and had to be revived on the field by medics during the Euro 2020 match with Finland on Saturday. 

The opening match of Group B was paused amid emotional scenes after Eriksen fell to the turf at the end of the first half.

Danish players immediately gestured to the medical staff to attend to Eriksen and his teammates were in tears as the 29-year-old was given CPR.

Eriksen was eventually carried off the field at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen after having lengthy treatment and a photo showed him apparently holding his head as he laid on the stretcher.

The Danish Football Union (DBU) said the Inter Milan player was awake and had been able to speak to teammates.

DBU director Peter Moeller told Danmarks Radio (DR): “We’ve been in contact with him, and the players have spoken to Christian. That’s the great news. He’s doing fine, and they are playing the game for him,”

After Eriksen was carried off, a crisis meeting was held with both teams and match officials over whether to restart the game and the players resumed the game at 8:30 pm, finishing the final minutes of the first half.

The match was poised at 0-0 at half-time.

Distraught players and supporters

The previously raucous crowd at the Parken Stadium in the Danish capital fell silent in gut-wrenching scenes as the other Danish players, mainly clearly distraught, formed a circle of red shirts around him to stop anyone from seeing the on-pitch treatment.

Many suppporters were also in tears.

“I don’t know how i feel. He’s such a national treasure. He’s like your best friend,” Denmark fan Rasmus Ottosen, 34, told AFP.

Denmark's players gather as paramedics attend to midfielder Christian Eriksen (not seen) during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. Friedemann Vogel / POOL / AFP
Denmark’s players gather as paramedics attend to midfielder Christian Eriksen (not seen) during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. Friedemann Vogel / POOL / AFP


“I could look down and see him get the treatment. Everyone was like, ‘I can’t look at this.'”

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and captain Simon Kjaer had to comfort Eriksen’s stricken partner Sabrina Kvist Jensen by the side of the pitch.

After around 15 minutes Eriksen was stretchered off the field followed by the rest of the Denmark team, while Finland’s players also walked off.

The fans in the stadium, who were celebrating the chance to see their national team again live at the stadium, sat silently in their seats waiting for news of Eriksen’s condition.

However soon after stadium-wide chants of “Christian” and “Eriksen” from both sets of supporters began to ring out as news of his status began to filter through to supporters.

They were brought to their feet when stadium announcers said that Eriksen was “stable”, and the ground rose as one when to was announced that the teams would come out to finish the match.

A huddle among Finland’s players were loudly applauded by all four sides of the stadium before both teams began their warm ups before rstarting the match.

However some fans did not agree with the decision to play.

Gustav Schoendorff, 19, saying “It’s so bad. It’s ethically wrong they should start tomorrow instead”.


Euro 2020 Match Suspended As Denmark’s Christian Eriksen Collapses On Pitch

Denmark's players gather as paramedics attend to midfielder Christian Eriksen (not seen) during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. Friedemann Vogel / POOL / AFP
Denmark’s players gather as paramedics attend to midfielder Christian Eriksen (not seen) during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Denmark and Finland at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on June 12, 2021. Friedemann Vogel / POOL / AFP


Denmark star Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch in Saturday’s Euro 2020 game against Finland in Copenhagen, causing the suspension of the match in the first half.

Danish players were in tears as medical staff tried to revive the Inter Milan player, who suddenly collapsed near the touchline.

“The UEFA EURO 2020 match in Copenhagen has been suspended due to a medical emergency,” UEFA said in a short statement.

The previously raucous crowd at the Parken Stadium in the Danish capital fell silent after the 29-year-old fell to the ground near the end of the opening period, with his teammates gathering around him.

After around 15 minutes Eriksen was stretchered off the field followed by the rest of the Denmark team, while Finland’s players also left the pitch.

The fans in the stadium, who were celebrating the chance to see their national team again live at the stadium, sat silently in their seats waiting for news of Eriksen’s condition to filter through.


Denmark Eases More COVID-19 Restrictions With New ‘Corona Pass’

Customers at the Mikkeller’s Warpigs, a craft brewpub in Copenhagen’s former Meatpacking District show the opening page of their “Corona pass,” an app on their mobile phone that shows the result of recent antigen tests for Covid-19, as they order drinks. (Photo by Tom LITTLE / AFP)


Gyms, theatres and cinemas on Thursday welcomed Danes back thanks to a new round of Covid-19 restriction easing and a reliance on a “corona pass”.

Armed with the pass people in Denmark can already visit restaurants, museums or the hairdresser.

Now the new certificate — confirming that they have either tested negative in the past 72 hours, been vaccinated, or recently recovered from Covid-19 — will also give them access to other places that have been off limits due to the pandemic.

“I don’t mind showing the corona pass at all. I think it’s very good, you feel safe while everything is reopening,” 22-year-old student Ottilia, told AFP as she stopped by to buy tickets for an upcoming show at the Falkoner cinema in central Copenhagen.

“I’m very excited, I have missed going to the cinema. I’m looking forward to seeing a movie on a big screen again,” project manager Stina, who had arrived with a group of few friends to watch a new Danish movie, said.

– Anything for a beer –

Launched in early March, as zoos reopened, the use of the pass has been a requirement for each new stage of Denmark’s reopening.

“It’s a major success because it has combined the reopening of the economy and has boosted testing,” Lars Ramme, head of tourism at the Danish Chamber of Commerce, said.

Bars, cafes and restaurants have been using it since April 21.

“I honestly think that after four, five months of lockdown, at least in Copenhagen, people will do anything to go and grab a beer and get some food,” Mikkel Bjergso, founder of micro-brewery Mikkeler.

In one of his pubs, Warpigs, he has installed a self-testing booth for customers without a valid certificate.

Primarily digital, the health pass is currently available through a mobile phone application which accesses your personal health data, but it also comes in a paper version.

“Right now it’s a good idea. Carl Kronika, a 21-year-old entrepreneur, told AFP.

Like his friends, who had met up to share a few beers, he gets tested twice a week at one of the many sites set up around Copenhagen.

With only 12.7 percent of Danes fully vaccinated, the pass relies heavily on testing.

In the centre of the Danish capital, the company Copenhagen Medicals has transformed a concert hall into a makeshift testing centre where up to 3,000 people can be tested every day.

Up to 500,000 tests can be performed daily, and the activity has become almost part of everyday life in the Nordic country of 5.8 million inhabitants.

“It’s the new normal. I put it in my schedule that every third day I go and get tested,” Maibrit Dener-Madsen, supervisor at the cinema, told AFP.

– Significant effect –

In the country where trust in authorities is generally high the adoption of the corona pass has met little or no resistance.

However, among the objectors is the protest movement “Men in Black”, which regularly conducts protests around Copenhagen.

While one in three Danes thinks the restrictions have been too severe, just over 10 percent support the protests, a recent survey by the University of Aarhus found.

In its recommendations, Denmark’s Ethics Council — an independent body — calls for “a gradual reduction in the use of the corona pass so that it is only used as long as it has a significant effect on the fight against the epidemic”.

Denmark To Allow 11,000 Spectators At Euro Matches

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes scores a penalty during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020. Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / various sources / AFP


Denmark said on Thursday it would allow at least 11,000 spectators per match at the four European Championship games to be played in Copenhagen in June.

The government said however it reserved the right to raise or lower the number depending on the state of the pandemic at the time.

“The European Championship in football is a unique and historic event in Denmark. The government has therefore decided to authorise at least 11,000 to 12,000 spectators for the four matches held at Parken” stadium, Culture and Sports Minister Joy Mogensen said in a statement.

The four matches are scheduled for June 12, 17, 21, and 28.

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“We have also informed the (Danish football federation) DBU and UEFA that it may be necessary to ban spectators if there is a large spread of the infection that would make it medically indefensible to authorise spectators,” she said.

The Euros, which have been postponed by a year because of the pandemic, are to be hosted by 12 countries, with the semis and finals played at Wembley in London.

UEFA has insisted that fans be allowed in the stands to watch the games, threatening to withdraw matches from host cities if they are not able to welcome spectators — a warning that has been heavily criticised, in particular by Germany.

Denmark, a country of 5.8 million people, has so far been spared a third wave of infections, unlike many other European neighbours.

The country, which was in partial lockdown over Christmas, currently has four times fewer cases than in early December, registering around 700 to 800 cases daily.

Denmark plans to issue a “corona pass”, a mobile phone app certifying that the holder has either tested negative within 72 hours, been vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19.


Denmark Suspends AstraZeneca Vaccine Use Over Blood Clot Fears

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 09, 2021 a medical worker holds a syringe and a vial of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine during a vaccination campaign at the National Museum of Science and Technology, Leonardo Da Vinci. 


Danish health authorities said Thursday they were temporarily suspending the use of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine as a precaution after some patients developed blood clots since receiving the jab.

The move comes “following reports of serious cases of blood clots among people vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine”, the Danish Health Authority said in a statement.

But it cautiously added that “it has not been determined, at the time being, that there is a link between the vaccine and the blood clots”.

Austria announced on Monday that it had suspended the use of a batch of AstraZeneca vaccines after a 49-year-old nurse died of “severe blood coagulation problems” days after receiving an anti-Covid shot.

Four other European countries — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxemburg — have also suspended the use of vaccines from this batch, which was sent to 17 European countries and consisting of one million jabs.

Denmark has however suspended the use of all of its AstraZeneca supply.

On Wednesday,  Europe’s medicines watchdog EMA said a preliminary probe showed that the batch of AstraZeneca vaccines used in Austria was likely not to blame for the nurse’s death.

As of March 9, 22 cases of blood clots had been reported among more than three million people vaccinated in the European Economic Area, the EMA said.

“It is important to point out that we have not terminated the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we are just pausing its use,” Danish Health Authority director Soren Brostrom said in the statement.

Denmark said one person had died after receiving the vaccine. The EMA has launched an investigation into that death.

“There is broad documentation proving that the vaccine is both safe and efficient. But both we and the Danish Medicines Agency must act on information about possible serious side effects, both in Denmark and in other European countries,” Brostrom said.

The suspension, which will be reviewed after two weeks, is expected to slow down Denmark’s vaccination campaign.

Copenhagen now expects to have its entire adult population vaccinated by mid-August instead of early July, the health authority said.


Israel, Denmark, Austria Agree Deal For Vaccine Development

A file photo of COVID-19 vaccine doses at a manufacturing plant.


Leaders from Israel, Austria and Denmark announced Thursday in Jerusalem an alliance for the development and production of future generation coronavirus vaccines, a deal that has already sparked criticism in Europe.

The three countries will launch “a research and development fund” and begin “joint efforts for common production of future vaccines”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a news conference alongside his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

“We don’t know how long… (current coronavirus) vaccines will hold up,” Netanyahu added.

“Is it half a year, is it a year, is it two years, is it more, is it less? We don’t know. Therefore we have to protect our people against the reemergence of this pandemic, or mutations.”

He did not specify the fund amount or the production capacity goal.

Frederiksen said the three countries “all have promising research that could pave the way for a next generation platform”, adding they “would like also to explore possible cooperation on clinical trials”.

READ ALSO: How Vaccines Became Ammunition In Global Diplomacy

Denmark and Austria are European Union members, and the Israeli partnership has elicited criticism from fellow EU state France, which said the European framework remained the best way to guarantee “solidarity” within the bloc.

Kurz had announced the alliance on Monday, saying the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was “too slow in approving vaccines”, leaving the bloc vulnerable to supply bottlenecks at pharmaceutical companies.

But France defended the agency and insisted that “the most effective solution for meeting our vaccination needs must remain within a European framework”.

“This is what guarantees the solidarity among member states that is more essential than ever,” it said late Wednesday.

But Kurz on Thursday said: “We need to cooperate on this issue within the European Union… but we also need to cooperate worldwide.”

He added that “Israel is the first country in the world to show that it is possible to defeat the virus”.

– ‘No contradiction’ –

Israel, among the world leaders in Covid-19 vaccinations per capita, launched a massive inoculation drive in December, backed by a deal with US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer, which mounted an airlift of its vaccine developed with German firm BioNTech in exchange for data on its effects.

The Jewish state has so far administered at least one of two recommended doses to more than half its nine million-strong population, and led a series of large-scale trials that have so far confirmed the efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The rapid rollout has allowed for shops to re-open and activities in public spaces to resume, some of which, such as sports centres, are reserved for people with a “green badge” indicating they’ve had two doses.

Netanyahu, who took his Danish and Austrian guests on a tour of a gym on Thursday, and has opened the door for other countries to also join the alliance.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has acknowledged “significant” shortcomings in the EU’s vaccination policies, while criticising what he called “attempts at secession”.

Austria’s neighbours the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia have already bypassed the EMA to approve Russian and Chinese coronavirus vaccines.

The EU has seen a sharp shortfall in the first three months of this year of deliveries it had been counting on to kickstart its vaccine roll-out, with Anglo-Swedish company AstraZeneca facing fierce criticism from the European Commission for supplying just a fraction of the vaccine doses it had promised to deliver to the bloc.

The European Commission, however, refrained from censuring the Israel-Austria-Denmark alliance.

“We welcome the fact that member states are looking at all possible options to improve the common European response to the to the virus,” said commission spokesman Eric Mamer.

“For us, there is no contradiction,” he added.


Denmark’s Primary School Children Return To Classes

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen welcomes pupils at Allerslev Skole in Lejre, on the island of Sealand, Denmark, on February 8, 2021, as primary school pupils are back in schools throughout the country. – Primary schools reopen in Denmark on February 8, 2021. (Photo by Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP)


Nearly 300,000 primary school pupils in Denmark returned to their classes on Monday after five weeks at home, a first step in relaxing the Nordic country’s strict virus curb measures.

This particular start of the new school year however comes with some sanitary caveats, such as no mixing of different classes to limit transmission.

Meals must be eaten in the classroom, but masks are not compulsory for students and teachers.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing my friends and my teacher again, and then I can’t wait to get rid of my family,” third grader Charlie Boll Ostergaard from Copenhagen told the newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Denmark’s 5.8 million people have been under a strict partial lockdown regime since Christmas.

READ ALSO: French Health Minister Encourages Use Of AstraZeneca Jab

Non-essential shops, bars and restaurants, cultural venues, colleges, high schools and universities are closed and gatherings of more than five people are banned.

The country has seen a reduction in new cases recently, but many of the current restrictions will remain in place for the time being.

“Older students will be able to return to school when we have complete control of the epidemic,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to a school, without giving any details about the potential timetable.

“Although on the surface the figures look good in Denmark, the British mutation is here and will soon be the most dominant,” she added, referring to the more infectious coronavirus strain discovered in the UK in November.

Denmark recorded 435 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number to 202,306 since the start of the pandemic, with more than 2,200 deaths.


Danish Minister Resigns Over Mink COVID-19 Row


A truck unloads dead mink into a ditch as members of Danish health authorities assisted by members of the Danish Armed Forces bury the animals in a military area near Holstebro, Denmark on November 9, 2020. (Photo by Morten Stricker / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP)


Denmark’s agriculture minister resigned on Wednesday following criticism of his handling of a mink cull ordered after the discovery of a mutated version of the coronavirus at some of the country’s mink farms.

Mogens Jensen admitted last week that the government’s order to cull all of Denmark’s 15 to 17 million minks had no legal basis.

“I no longer have the necessary support from the parties in parliament,” he told Danish public television DR on Wednesday. “I must tender my resignation.”

“It is very clear that mistakes have been made in my ministry, and I take responsibility,” he said.

Denmark ordered the cull on November 4 over fears that the mutated virus, which can jump to humans, could threaten the effectiveness of any future human vaccine, according to Copenhagen.

Some mink farmers protested against the order to slaughter their healthy minks, as media revealed that Danish legislation allowed the government to order the cull of minks only on affected farms and not a general cull, which the government later admitted.

To rectify the situation, the government has proposed a bill banning mink farms until 2022, but its apologies have done little to restore confidence, even among the minority Social Democratic government’s allies on the left.

Opposition leader Jakob Elleman-Jensen of the Liberal party said “this is just the beginning”.

“This entire affair needs to be examined in detail to determine the prime minister’s responsibility,” he told the Ritzau news agency.


Denmark Introduces New Restrictions As COVID-19 Cases Surge

(Photo by Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva / AFP)


Faced with a rise in new coronavirus infections, Denmark on Tuesday announced new restrictions as the prime minister called for people to respect recommendations aimed at reducing the spread.

Mette Frederiksen pointed out that health officials were warning the country “was on the edge of a second wave.”

“Infections are at a high level. The number of hospitalisations has risen,” she said in a message posted on Instagram.

“Now is when it counts. We need to follow the recommendations of the authorities,” she continued.

The Danish agency for infectious diseases SSI, which operates under the health ministry, has advised Danes to create a “social bubble.”

“We need to find maybe five or ten people to hang out with. It is with them that we will spend the autumn,” Kare Molbak, director of SSI, told a press conference.

New restrictions were introduced in the capital Copenhagen and its suburbs, where bars and restaurants must close their doors at 10 pm.

The country has reported more than 300 new cases for the fourth consecutive day in the Scandinavian country of 5.8 million inhabitants, a level mirroring that of April.

“One in five (new) patients is between 20 and 29 years old. That is why the restrictions target nightlife,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said during the joint press conference.

Both customers and staff in bars and restaurants will be required to wear face masks when not seated.

The number of spectators allowed at football matches will also be reduced to 500.

And people organising social gatherings at home are encouraged to send guests home at 10 pm.

In the rest of Denmark, bars and restaurants can stay open until two am, with the exception of the city of Odense which recently experienced a surge in cases and where doors close at midnight.

The new restrictions will remain in force until at least October 1.