One of the white tents outside Vejlby-Risskov Hallen in Aarhus. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix
“We have worked hard to increase the test capacity since the coronavirus began to spread in Denmark. Now we have built up capacity, and we must fully utilize it,” said Health Minister Magnus Heunicke in a press statement announcing the new organisation.
TestCenter Danmark — a joint venture between the national government, regional governments, and the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo-Nordisk — will test both those with symptoms for active Covid-19 infections and those without for the antibodies which indicate that someone has already had the virus.
The testing will take place in the five large white tents already erected in each of Denmark's five regions, which the government said would increase in number as the program is built out.
“In this way we can ensure timely treatment of citizens infected with COVID-19. And we can follow the development of the infection in the community, and use that knowledge actively when we gradually reopen Denmark,” Heunicke added.
As well as the tests carried out by TestCenter Danmark, the coutnry's health authorities also plan to massively increase testing so that they can carry out up to 12,000 tests a day on citizens with even mild coronavirus symptoms, all patients admitted to hospitals for any reason, and later on to all employees working in the health and elderly care sectors.
According to the press release, Denmark's infectious diseases agency SSI will operate the tents, that have been built with the help of a 250 million Danish kroner ($36) grant from the Novo-Nordisk Foundation, which has already funded a range of coronavirus initiatives.
Novo Nordisk has also contributed staff and technology for establishing and conducting the tests.
Lars Rebien Sørensen, the chairman of the foundation, said the centres would “create greater security and security for the individual and the people with whom they are socializing, and it can support the gradual reopening of society.”