A Danish grandfather enjoying a trip to the beach with his grandchildren in 2019. Photo: Linda Kastrup/Ritzau Scanpix
“You can of course give hugs to those closest to you — for example you partner, children and grandchildren,” the Danish Health Authority said in its new set of guidelines. “But avoid giving handshakes, hugs and kisses on the cheek to anyone apart from those closest to you.”
Camilla Rathcke, who helped revise Handling of Covid-19: advice to people in high-risk groups, told Danish state broadcaster DR that the Authority had changed the guidelines to better balance the risk of infection with the long-term risks to mental and physical health faced by those in prolonged isolation.
“Of course, we recommend that people who are at increased risk remain aware and still look after themselves. But we also recommend that you try to find a small group of people you can meet,” she said.
In the new guidelines, the authority has also increased the age at which people are automatically classed as high risk from 65 to 70.
Rathcke said said that people who are fit and healthy should not feel the need to place themselves into isolation simply because they fall into one or other of the risk categories, which includes those with heart disease, lung disease, and those with reduced immune defence.
“It is neither good nor necessary to isolate yourself in the long term, and that is why we have come up with new recommendations on how to continue living your life, even if you have an illness or a condition that increases your risk,” she said.
“We have seen a tendency for some people to shield themselves almost a bit too much. Perhaps so much that they have become lonely and sad through sitting about at home by themselves.”