Denmark spends ‘up to 100 million kroner’ daily on Covid-19 testing

Corona virus tests are a cornerstone of Denmark’s strategy for lifting Covid-19 restrictions and containing the virus.

Denmark spends 'up to 100 million kroner' daily on Covid-19 testing
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Testing, described by the government as the “basis” of the country’s reopening plan, has seen major resources diverted to it, with hundreds of thousands of people receiving Covid-19 tests daily.

The Ministry of Justice has now released an estimation of the extent of spending on PCR and rapid Covid-19 tests.

In a written comment, the ministry released the information in response to a request from media Indblik.

Denmark’s large-scale testing programme will cost between 50 and 100 million kroner per day, according to the ministry estimate.

“If a test costs an average of 100 to 200 kroner, a rough estimate is that the test strategy will cost between 50 and 100 million kroner per day if the overall test capacity is fully utilised,” the ministry wrote.

That estimate can be considered to carry “significant uncertainty,” it noted.

The calculation is based on the current national test capacity of 500,000 tests daily, an impressive figure in a country of 5.8 million people.

The government recently said it wants to further expand the testing capacity to 700,000 daily.

READ ALSO: Denmark to further ramp up Covid-19 testing capacity amid reopening plan

Private subcontractors, who operate the rapid tests, only receive payment for tests that have actually been conducted.

“That means that if 100,000 private antigen [rapid, ed.] tests are done, and there is a capacity of 200,000, the state only pays for 100,000 tests,” the ministry explained.

According to the justice ministry’s comments, the testing strategy is a “vital tool in the reopening of Denmark”.

“The costs of testing must therefore be seen in light of the significant costs associated with an ongoing partial closure of society,” it said.

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Covid-19: Denmark halves test capacity due to low infection numbers

Denmark is to cut its Covid-19 testing capacity due to low demand at municipal PCR test centres.

Covid-19: Denmark halves test capacity due to low infection numbers

The daily number of PCR tests at local centres will therefore be reduced from 40,000 to 20,000, the Agency for Critical Supplies (Styrelsen for Forsyningssikkerhed) confirmed in a statement on Monday.

Some test centres are expected to close due to the reduced operations.

“The downscaling is expected to result in a further reduction in the number of test locations, while opening times will be adjusted in the country’s test centres,” the agency said in the statement.

“These adjustments will take place on an ongoing basis,” it added.

Recent months have seen Covid-19 infections receding in Denmark after the winter wave, which was driven by the Omicron variant of the virus.

Health authorities have credited a high level of immunity in the community, due to previous infections, and a high vaccination rate including booster vaccinations, in reducing the spread of the coronavirus throughout the spring.

Covid-19 is also known to be transmitted less during warmer seasons.

The lower number of cases is linked to the reduced demand for testing in Denmark. Last week saw an average of around 5,000 tests administered daily.

The government is expected later this year to present a Covid-19 testing strategy for late 2022 and next winter.

Denmark lifted the majority of its Covid-19 restrictions in February, with final travel restrictions ending in March.

Health authorities now only recommend taking a PCR test for Covid-19 if you have symptoms and are at risk of serious illness should you contract the virus.

Testing is no longer recommended for close contacts of people who have the virus or are suspected to have it.

READ ALSO: Denmark says Covid-19 testing now only needed for ‘special medical reasons’