Denmark


Have any emergency powers been enacted in response to the covid-19 pandemic in your country? How long do they last, what are the provisions for extension/prolongation, what are the provisions for review?

Revisions have been made to the Danish Epidemia Law (Epidemiloven). These have been approved by the parliament to take emergency measures. The first round has a three months expiration date, while the second had a one year expiration date (called solnedgangsklausul = sundown clause) (https://www.sst.dk/da/viden/beredskab/beredskab-for-epidemier/epidemiloven)

The provisions prescribe that all non-essential public staff work from home. If their tasks cannot be performed from home they will stay home on full salary. Later measures added that if possible public staff should use 5 days of paid leave/vacation during the period from March 18 to April 30.

All educational institutions were included in ‘non-essential’ and all students in primary and secondary schools as well as universities were therefore sent home. Teaching is as far as possible taking place virtually. Day care centres for younger children are also closed. Emergency care has been established at schools and day care centres to take care of children of families in need – e.g. where both parents perform essential tasks and have to go to work, such as parents working in the health sector.

Private companies were encouraged to have as much staff as possible working from home and take precautionary measures. Support packages were arranged to prevent private companies from firing staff.

Borders have been closed, with exemption of essential travels. Only Danish citizens, people delivering good, or people crossing the border to work in Denmark are allowed to cross the border. People who are not Danish citizens are not allowed to cross the border to visit family. Danish citizens who return from any other country are placed in two weeks home quarantine.

Punishments for crimes related to the covid19 crisis have been increased. This increase applies to scams where thieves pretend to be authorities in public errands (online as well as in peoples homes), to people who take advantage of the financial support offered to companies without being entitled and after several instances of robberies of hand sanitiser and masks at hospitals.It is worth noting that this was the first provision which did not receive support from all parties in parliament. The support parties of the government rejected this provision because it, in addition to doubling sentences, also included the option to expel foreigners in Denmark who commit any of such crimes. The provision was however still passed by a majority in the parliament.

Have any restrictions on public gatherings been imposed?How are they enforced?

At first gatherings with more than 1000 people were advised against, this was a recommendation and as such not enforced. Then the recommendation was decreased to 100 people. And finally public gatherings above 10 people were forbidden from March 18, enforced by fine. With this decision also came the decision to close malls, bars, restaurants and other non-essential shops where people would be close to each other.

Have restrictions on leaving home been imposed? How are they enforced?

People are advised to limit their time outside, but no restrictions are enforced.

Have any other new powers been granted to law enforcement authorities? (e.g. in the UK, to detain potentially infectious persons)

In the first law, it was proposed that police was allowed to enter homes without permission from a judge. This was blocked in parliament.

Are the authorities making new use of telecommunications or other data?

Has been discussed, but no such use has been approved

Are there instances of law enforcement authorities exceeding powers? Can you provide a summary/summaries?

No known cases

Have any restrictions been placed on the media, or instructions handed down to media organisations, regarding reporting on the pandemic?

No

What (if any) role has been given to the military?

The Danish Defence Services support the police in crisis management but have not been given any further role. Non-essential staff have been sent home as in other public organisations.

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