‘Pure madness’: Denmark’s testing strategy costing 2bn kroner a month

According to a leaked briefing document from the Ministry of Justice, Denmark is currently spending 2bn kroner (€270m) a month on the free coronavirus tests offered across the country, drawing criticism from opposition politicians.

'Pure madness': Denmark's testing strategy costing 2bn kroner a month
People queue outside a test centre in Aalborg back in April. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s coronavirus passport system has since mid-April required those who have not been vaccinated to show a recent negative coronavirus test before spending time in bars, cafés, restaurants, museums and more, leading to a rise in the number of tests to more than 750,000 per day. 

“This is as much as we spend on the entire of Denmark’s defence, and more than we receive in the top tax bracket,” complained Rasmus Jarlov, an MP for the opposition Conservative Party on Twitter of the cost.  “Support for such decisions can only be explained with psychology. All rationality is gone.” 

The Berlingske newspaper on Monday revealed the high cost of Denmark’s testing programme after it was leaked a briefing document on testing that had been circulated inside the Danish parliament. 

Nick Hækkerup, the country’s justice minister, said in a written comment to Berlingske that the high cost justified by the benefits, and that it would soon fall off as more people are vaccinated and the need for testing decreases from the current high rates of up to 750,000 tests day. 

But Peter Kamp Busk, professor of molecular biology at Roskilde University and an expert on testing, questioned this, arguing that there was little evidence that the huge number of tests being carried out in Denmark were helping control the epidemic. 

“It’s pure madness what we have going on in Denmark. It’s completely insane and it’s basically throwing money straight out the window,” he said. “It has not worked, and there is no evidence that it works.” 

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Danish Covid-19 vaccine and test documentation

In his research, he has been unable to find a correlation between the level of testing and falls or rises in the number of people infected. 

“There is no correlation between the number of infections and the number of PCR tests. It is not connected at all,” he said earlier this month. 

Member comments

  1. theres also a study about how ineffective mouth covers are, but govt apparently doesn’t care about this because they don’t have to pay for those.

  2. ” ‘This is as much as we spend on the entire of Denmark’s defence, and more than we receive in the top tax bracket,’ complained Rasmus Jarlov, an MP for the opposition Conservative Party….”

    So he doesn’t consider defending Danish citizens against a deadly pandemic to be a part of “Denmark’s defence”? He may be justified in criticizing how it’s done, but it is completely wrong to separate that from “the entire” of Denmark’s defence. Protection of the populace is not limited to protection against firearms and missiles.

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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’