Denmark sees no rise in COVID-19 cases after further easing of lockdown

The nursing home Humlehaven introduces Heart Rooms where relatives can visit residents, as those rooms are furnished with separate entrances and divided by glass to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Aarslev on the island of Funen, Denmark June 3, 2020. Ritzau Scanpix/Tim Kildeborg Jensen via REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark, the first country outside Asia to ease its coronavirus lockdown, said on Wednesday the spread of COVID-19 has not accelerated since it entered its second phase of reopening society last month.

The Nordic country allowed restaurants, cafes and malls to resume business during May in the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions. In April it had allowed day care centres, schools, hair dressers and some small businesses to reopen.

“The level of contagion in society is still very low,” the Danish health authority said in a report on Wednesday, adding that the number of confirmed new infections had continued to fall despite more tests being carried out.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths has hovered between zero and four per day in the last three weeks, after a peak of 22 deaths on March 31. The number of hospitalisations has fallen to fewer than 100 since the beginning of June.

“There is no sign yet of noticeable changes in the extent of contagion despite the gradual opening of society in April and early May,” the report said.

On Monday the Danish government raised the maximum limit on public gatherings to 50 from 10 and allowed fitness centres and public swimming pools to reopen. It plans a further easing of restrictions on public gatherings in July and August.

In total, Denmark has reported 593 deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Gareth Jones