Denmark – New hotline in 25 languages about coronavirus
A new hotline in Denmark will answer questions about the coronavirus in 25 languages. The hotline was set up by the NGO Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in response to the massive need for information for inhabitants who are not fluent in Danish. It is funded by Novo Nordisk Foundation, and the information is provided in collaboration with the Danish Health Department.
The hotline is available daily by phone and web chat between 14:00-16:00, starting from the 6th of April. Visit the hotline’s website
Overall, the Danish state has done little to inform citizens in languages other than Danish. The official state pages with advice and rules regarding the virus have not been translated. But a new project is underway from the government, focusing on vulnerable foreigners in the social housing projects.
Beside DRC’s new hotline, NGOs have established other kinds of support for refugees and migrants:
- DRC provides online help with studies and homework for refugee children
- DFUNK provides online help with studies and homework for young refugees
- Mino Danmark covers news about COVID-19 in 25 languages
- Good advice for people who are in contact with vulnerable refugees during the pandemic, offered by DRC
How else has the COVID-19 pandemic affected refugees and migrants in Denmark?
- All integration programmes have been put on hold. Language schools are closed, and exams are cancelled until further notice. Deadlines for passing exams affecting residence permits will be extended.
- The Danish citizenship ceremony in March (scheduled every six months) has been cancelled, as a handshake with the local mayor or official is a mandatory part of the ceremony (without gloves). This means that people who were fulfilling some of the toughest demands for citizenship in Europe must wait at least another six months.
- One of the requirements to get a permanent residence permit is holding a full-time job for a certain period, including at the time of the decision. A large number of applicants have now lost their jobs due to social distancing measures, but the minister of integration says no special considerations will be taken.
- The Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe has urged its member states to release all migrants and asylum seekers in detention in face of the current situation, as no transfers are possible and the risk of infection in closed facilities is high. The Danish minister of integration maintains that this decision is up to the courts.