Battling Covid-19: Denmark keen to share best practices with India

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on May 25, 2020

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen   -  REUTERS

Prime Minister Narendra Modi   -  RV Moorthy

Both countries to share best practices, exchange information in medical research, testing kits, vaccine development

Denmark — one of the first European countries to have reversed its Covid-19 restrictions without experiencing a spike in cases — is ready to partner with India by sharing best practices and exchanging information in areas such as medical research, testing kits and development of vaccines, said a senior official.

The Principal Scientific Adviser’s office in India and the Statens Serum Institute (SSI), a body under the Danish Health Ministry that ensures preparedness against infectious diseases and biological threats, have initiated a continuous dialogue on cooperation, an official from the Danish Embassy in Delhi told BusinessLine.

“A continuous dialogue has been set up between SSI and PSA in India and the first meeting has been conducted. The dialogue is supported from both embassies and is at the level of top management,” the official said.

The Danish government made its first move to relax its lockdown restrictions from April 15. As the spread of the infection has slowed down in Denmark, the government announced the second phase of ease of restrictions from May 11.

Impressed by Denmark’s performance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen on May 14 and congratulated her on her country’s success in reversing the restrictions without causing an increase in infected cases.

Two days before that, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and the Foreign Minister of Denmark Jeppe Kofod co-chaired the Third India-Danish Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) virtually agreeing to share best practices and exchange information on medical research, testing kits and development of vaccines to jointly fight Covid-19, the official said.

“The Danish Health Authority is following a ‘mitigation strategy’ approach, which aims to limit the consequences of the spread of Covid-19 in Denmark. It aims to prevent too many people from becoming infected at the same time, so that the Danish health system does not breakdown and to safeguard people at higher risk of illness from the virus,” the official pointed out.

A similar strategy would be useful for India, which too has started a slow easing in restrictions, as limited infrastructure to deal with patients is one of the serious challenges that the country faces.

“The SSI collects large amounts of data to monitor the Danish Covid-19 cases. Both active and passive surveillance techniques are used,” the official said explaining the strategy followed in his country.

Passive surveillance includes data on the number of tests, the number of confirmed cases, the geographical and demographic distribution of cases as well as the number of hospitalised patients, and those under intensive care.

Active surveillance includes so-called ‘sentinel testing’, where several general practitioners throughout the nation are chosen to test on a weekly basis a few patients with mild respiratory symptoms as well as a few patients without respiratory symptoms.

Published on May 25, 2020

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