March 17, 2020 / 6:32 PM / 22 days ago

Denmark bans crowds of over 10 people to curb coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen leaves after the second day of the European Union leaders summit, held to discuss the EU's long-term budget for 2021-2027, in Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark has banned public crowds of more than 10 people and ordered restaurants and gyms to close in temporary moves to curb the spread of coronavirus, its prime minister said on Tuesday.

All restaurants, bars, cafes, nightclubs as well as gyms, tanning centres and tattoo parlours will be required to shut down until March 30, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a news conference. Food stores, dispensaries and goods transport are exempted from the decision, she added.

The crowds ban takes effect on Wednesday at 10 a.m. (0900 GMT).

“The government has chosen the approach that we would rather act now than later,” she said.

Denmark, a European Union member, has already taken drastic steps to limit the spread of the virus, including closing its borders to most foreign visitors and shutting all schools and universities.

The Nordic country reported 977 confirmed cases of coronavirus and four deaths as of Tuesday.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Andreas Mortensen; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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