Denmark records 183 cases of Omicron variant amid ‘worrying’ trend

Belgian police fire water cannon during protest against Covid-19 restrictions

Denmark had as of Sunday registered 183 cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, up from 135 a day earlier. Photograph: Martin Divisek/EPA

Denmark had as of Sunday registered 183 cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, up from 135 a day earlier. Photograph: Martin Divisek/EPA

 

Denmark had as of Sunday registered 183 cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, up from 135 a day earlier, SSI, the country’s institute for infectious diseases, said in a statement.

The number of Omicron infections is rising at a “worrying” pace, Henrik Ullum, the head of SSI, said in the statement.

“We now see infection chains among people who haven’t been travelling or have had connections with travellers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Belgian police fired tear gas and used water cannons on Sunday to disperse protesters pelting officers with cobblestones and fireworks as a demonstration in Brussels over government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions turned violent.

Thousands of protesters marched peacefully through the centre of the Belgian capital to the neighbourhood which hosts the headquarters of European Union institutions, where the demonstration reached its end point.

In the EU quarter a group of protesters wearing black hoods and chanting “liberté” (freedom) started to throw stones at the police, who reacted with tear gas and water cannons, according to footage and reports from Reuters journalists present.

Belgian riot police stand in position as clashes erupt during a demonstration against the government’s measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, in Brussels. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images
Belgian riot police stand in position as clashes erupt during a demonstration against the government’s measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, in Brussels. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Demonstrators were protesting rules imposed in Belgium in October that oblige people to show Covid-19 passes to access bars and restaurants.

“I can’t bear discrimination in any form, and now there’s the vaccine pass which is discriminatory, sanctions for [unvaccinated] carers which are discriminatory too, there’s mandatory vaccination which is heading our way,” one protester, martial arts teacher Alain Sienaort, said.

“That’s all discrimination, so we have to fight it. We don’t want a dictatorship.”

The protest followed new measures announced on Friday to curb one of Europe’s highest infection rates, including mandatory mask wearing for most primary school children and a lengthening of the school holidays.

In late November, a much larger number of demonstrators clashed violently with the police in Brussels. That led to dozens of arrests, injuries among police officers and widespread property damage.

Elsewhere, 10 people tested positive for Covid-19 on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship due to disembark in New Orleans this weekend, the Louisiana department of health said on Twitter. The Norwegian Breakaway had departed from New Orleans on November 28th and stopped in Belize, Honduras and Mexico. It has more than 3,200 people on board. – Reuters/Bloomberg