Denmark proposes faster easing of lockdown as coronavirus cases fall: PM

FILE PHOTO: Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks during a news conference on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at her office in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 6, 2020. Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark’s government plans to reopen society more quickly than anticipated as the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations continues to fall, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Tuesday.

As a first step in a gradual relaxation of a month-long lockdown, Denmark will on Wednesday reopen day care centres and schools for children in first to fifth grade.

But the government has faced some criticism for keeping many small businesses such as restaurants, cafes and hair dressers shut.

“Our job as government is not to look after the interests of certain groups, but to find a balanced solution that is good both in terms of health and also provides significantly better conditions in terms of jobs,” Frederiksen told a news briefing.

“This will be our approach for the extension of the first phase of reopening,” she said, without specifying details of the government’s proposal.

The proposal will be discussed with other parties in parliament later on Tuesday, Frederiksen said.

The Nordic country, which was one of the first in Europe to shut down, had 299 coronavirus-related deaths as of Tuesday, while the number of hospitalizations has fallen over the last two weeks.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Andreas Mortensen; Editing by Janet Lawrence