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Everything that changes in Denmark in March 2021

March 2021 will see several changes in Denmark related to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Everything that changes in Denmark in March 2021
Central Copenhagen on March 1st 2021. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

A partial lifting of the national coronavirus lockdown in Denmark will allow some school classes to return and certain shops to reopen from March 1st. A number of other restrictions also change from Monday.

More detail on the changes follows below.

READ ALSO: Which Covid-19 restrictions will stay in place in Denmark beyond March 1st?

Shops reopen

Shops which sell durable goods such as clothes or furniture will be allowed to open nationally from March 1st provided they are under 5,000 square metres in size. Stores which are located in shopping malls will not be allowed to reopen, however.

Increased social distancing requirements will apply and larger stores will also be allowed to open on an appointment basis to a limited number of customers.

Schools

Schools will be allowed to partially reopen in some areas of the country, but not in others.

Final year students at elementary schools, upper secondary schools and further education (not universities) can now physically attend classes in North Jutland and West Jutland.

Classes will return at 50 percent capacity, meaning that students will attend every other week.

At elementary schools, students over the age of 12 will be asked to take a Covid-19 test twice weekly but it will not be mandatory. However, students at the other education types will not be allowed to attend without taking a test.

Youth residential schools (efterskoler) in the two Jutland regions will be allowed to operate with full attendance and special infection prevention measures, and students who come from other parts of the country will be allowed to attend.

According to a justice ministry statement issued last week, the government will review infection trends before deciding whether to allow schools to reopen in other regions of the country. A second round of reopenings would take effect on March 15th.

Outdoors attractions can open

Cultural institutions which are located outside will be allowed to operate provided that users present a negative Covid-19 test less than 72 hours old. This means attractions like the Tivoli amusement park or the Zoo in Copenhagen can open their doors to guests again. The former has been closed since December.

Copenhagen’s zoo has said it will be ready to open on Thursday, broadcaster DR has reported. That also goes for the zoos in Odense and Aalborg.

More participation in sports

Organised outdoor activity with sports clubs can be stepped up a little under the new rules.

“Outdoor cultural life and outdoor sports and leisure pursuits” are now permitted nationally with a 25-person assembly limit in place, although this must take place “under organised auspices”.

In February, the general assembly limit of five persons in public places also applied to sports.

Bornholm

Baltic Sea island Bornholm is geographically cut off from the rest of Denmark and has seen lower infection rates than the rest of the country. The island will now be encompassed by slightly more lenient Covid-19 restrictions.

All year groups (not just senior years) will be allowed to return to elementary schools, while some businesses are permitted to open on the island while their colleagues remain closed elsewhere in Denmark.

This means the sector referred to in Denmark as liberale erhverv (liberal businesses), including customer-facing business such as hair salons, cosmetic clinics and driving schools, can reopen. Customers must present a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours old.

The general assembly limit on Bornholm has been lifted from 5 to 10 people (apart from for organised sports which have a higher limit nationally, as detailed above). For the rest of Denmark, the limit stays at 5 people.

New epidemic law

It should also be noted that a new epidemic law, recently voted through by a broad majority in parliament, comes into effect on Monday March 1st. The law does not mean any immediate changes to restrictions but does keep in place restrictions brought into effect under the outgoing emergency law.

More detail on the new epidemic law can be found here.

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COVID-19

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.” 

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