Why has Denmark offered all adults coronavirus tests and how will it work?

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]

Denmark's health minister put out a press release on Monday saying all adults could sign up to be tested for coronavirus. But it turned out only 18- to 25-year-olds were eligible and only 4,500 of them managed to get an appointment. What's the real situation?


How many people can Denmark currently test? 

Denmark has the capacity to test about 20,000 people a day, half of them through the network of 16 tents run by Testcenter Danmark, and half through hospitals and their laboratories.

But so far the closest Denmark has got to this is 16,391 who were tested at May 11. The number has since fallen to around 6,000 a day, not due to a shortage of capacity, but due to a shortage of coronavirus cases. 

This has prompted the authorities to allow people to order tests without a doctor's appointment. 

Who is the website open to? 

Eventually, it will be for all adults who have a NemID. On Monday, the website was only allowing the first 600,000 people in Denmark, those between the ages of 18 and 25, to book an appointment.

In its press release, Denmark's health ministry said that the booking system would be gradually opened to other age groups over the week. 

What if I don't have a NemID? 

If you don't have a NemID, you can book a test through ringing your local regional contact number. Here is a list of the numbers

What sort of test will I get? 
You will be given a throat swab test to test for an active coronavirus infection. 

Can I get an antibody test to find out if I might be immune? 

Sadly, not yet. Denmark's infectious diseases agency SSI is currently carrying out antibody tests on 2,600 randomly selected people to help it better understand the proportion of the population who have been infected. These people will also be tested at the Testcenter Danmark tents. But you can only receive one of these tests if you are one of those selected. 

Where will I be tested? 

People who get an appointment will be sent for a virus test at one of the 16 tent facilities set up around Danish cities by the Testcenter Danmark, which together can test about 10,000 people a day. 

Does this mean I should no longer contact my doctor if I have mild coronavirus symptoms? 
No. If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, or if you yourself have symptoms, you should still contact your doctor in the normal way, and you may still be asked to go and get tested at a hospital. 


So what is the website for? 
According to a spokesperson at the Danish health ministry, the decision to offer tests without contact with a doctor has come because of excess capacity in the tent facilities, which in turn has come because the rate of infection in Denmark is lower than had been expected.
This has meant that the number of tests expected to be needed for contact tracing is lower than expected. As a result, the agency has decided to offer tests to citizens even if they don't have a normal medical reason. Perhaps, the spokesperson suggested, you might want to know for certain that you do not have the virus before visiting an elderly relative. 
How long will it take to get an appointment? 
The website warns there may be waiting times to get an appointment. "There are many who would like to be tested, so there may be a wait for a test time". According to the Ritzau news wire, there were 25,000 people queuing for a test on Monday afternoon. 
How do I get to the test centre? 

When you are given an appointment, you will be informed both of the precautions you need to take to avoid infecting others on the way to your test, and the precise location and time you are expected to be at the centre. If you suspect you have a coronavirus infection, you should avoid public transport. 

Where and when will I get the answer to my test? 

If you have a NemID, log in to the website, or download the MinSundhed app to see your result.

If you do not have a NemID, you will need to contact your doctor.  

Testcenter Danmark aims to produce a result within 24 hours. 


What happens if I test positive to having Covid-19? 

If you test positive, you will need to go into isolation for seven days after you test positive, even if you are free from symptoms. If you have symptoms, then you must self-isolate until you have been free of symptoms (apart from loss of taste and smell) for 48 hours. 

You should avoid close physical contact with those you live with, although you are allowed to make exceptions to hug   child. 

What contact tracing should I do? 

If you test positive you should inform all those you have been in close contact with. This includes anyone you have sat face-to-face, less than a metre apart, for more than 15 minutes. It also means those you live with, those you work with, and healthcare professionals who have treated you without protective garments. 

If I do get an antibody test, and I test positive what does this mean? 

The Danish health authorities say that if you test positive, this means you probably have been infected with coronavirus, and as a result probably have immunity. But the authorities stress that as coronavirus is a new disease, there is no certainty over how long this immunity will last. 



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also