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Denmark: Denmark will impose a full lockdown over Christmas as the government struggles to contain a surge in new coronavirus cases.

Shopping centers will be closed across the country from Thursday, while all school kids that aren't already doing virtual lessons will be sent home on Monday. From December 25, all shops, except those that sell food and medicine, will be shuttered, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a briefing on Wednesday.

"The winter months may well be the most difficult time in our fight against the coronavirus," she said.

Denmark had already closed restaurants, bars, cafes and gyms in a partial lockdown that started earlier this month.

Over the past 24 hours, 3,692 Danes were infected by the virus, according to Danish health authorities. That's the highest number recorded so far, with the sudden increase only partly explained by a rise in testing, Frederiksen said.

Earlier on Wednesday, hospital authorities in the greater Copenhagen area said all non-urgent procedures will be postponed starting next week, to free up resources to treat COVID-19 patients.