Greenland reexamining COVID-19 rules after cases surge in Denmark

An undated photo of Greenland’s capital city of Nuuk. Greenland has had a total of 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began but all individuals have recovered. (iStock)
Greenland’s home rule government is currently reexamining its COVID-19 related executive order after a surge of cases in Denmark and nearby jurisdictions like Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

“Denmark is now in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, where Greenland has so far avoided an actual first wave,” said Greenland’s Health Minister Anna Wangenheim in a news release on Friday.

It has succeeded due to a successful effort with controlled entry, and because all citizens have taken great responsibility and followed the health professional advice. If we are to continue to succeed in keeping COVID-19 infection to a minimum, we must all take responsibility again. We know the health professional advice – but we must also follow them.”

New recommendations

On Friday, the government announced new recommendations for travellers coming to Greenland from so-called “red” municipalities, places with a high infection rate, in Denmark. The recommendations include the travellers being retested 5 days after arrival, and avoiding social interactions until it’s completely ruled out that the traveler is infected with COVID-19.

The government has also implemented rules for employees which include avoiding meetings with arrivals from Denmark or other countries unless absolutely necessary. The government is asking companies to do the same.

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, right, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, center, and Kaare Moelbak of the State Serum Institut, a Danish research institute that specializes in infectious diseases, left, attend a COVID-19 press conference in the Prime Minister’s Office in Copenhagen, Denmark, Friday Sept. 18, 2020. (Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

Greenland has had a total of 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began but all individuals have since recovered. 

On Friday, Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen held a streamed press conference on COVID-19 and said there’d been 454 new confirmed cases in the previous 24 hours, near the all-time high of 473 in April.

Frederiksen said Denmark was putting a series of measures in place until October 4 – including limiting public gatherings to 50 people down from 100 and closing bars and restaurants at 10pm – in an effort to stop infections from spreading.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at) 

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Chamber of Commerce in Canada’s Northwest Territories balks at price tag for new COVID-19 secretariat, CBC News

Finland:  Finnair to end flights to five regional airports, including to Kemi, Lapland, Yle News

Denmark: Faroe Islands updates COVID-19 guidelines for travellers, Eye on the Arctic

Greenland: Greenland approves revised COVID-19 strategy, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland orders four-day closure of Reykjavik-area bars after uptick in COVID-19 infections, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Finland, UK to remove travel restrictions on Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: To stop coronavirus, Arctic communities took matters into their own hands. Can it last?, Blog by Mia Bennett

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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