May 15, 2020 / 12:35 PM / in 15 days

Denmark reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since March

FILE PHOTO: First customers return to Field's, shopping center, after the lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 11, 2020. Ritzau Scanpix/Liselotte Sabroe via REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark, the first country in Europe to gradually start reopening, reported no coronavirus-related deaths on Friday from the day earlier for the first time since March 13.

Denmark’s total number of confirmed cases rose by 78 to 10,791 since Thursday, with the number of hospitalisations falling by 10 to 137. The death toll remained unchanged at 537.

“Milestone today: In the last day we have had 0 deaths as a result of COVID-19 in Denmark,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Twitter.

On Tuesday, health authorities said Denmark was “very unlikely” to be hit by a second wave of the virus, as the country entered its second reopening phase, which allows schools for the oldest children, shopping mails and restaurants to reopen.

Despite the reopening, the so-called reproduction rate, which shows the average number of infections caused by one person with the virus, fell to 0.7 in the first week of May from 0.9.

“It reflects the fact that the epidemic is in rapid decline,” said Christian Wejse, a scientist at the department of infectious diseases at Aarhus University.

Wejse said the number of daily deaths had been at a low for a while now, but that he expected more zero-death days to come.

So far, 83% of people diagnosed with the virus in Denmark have recovered, according to health authorities. Of those who have died, 87% were above the age of 70.

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, Jacob Grønholt-Pedersen and Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Alex Richardson

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