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COVID-19

IN DETAIL: How Denmark’s Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted between now and October

Starting with an extra hour of drinking time on Friday night, Denmark's remaining Covid-19 restrictions are to slowly vanish over the next four months.

IN DETAIL: How Denmark's Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted between now and October
A bag of discarded face masks. On September 1st, they'll be gone for good. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Denmark’s government agreed what might be its final reopening deal with all but one of the parliament’s political parties (the New Right Party was not involved).

Here’s what the timetable looks like:

June 11th:

From this Friday, the regulations on nightlife will change to give everyone an extra hour in pubs, with the sales of alcohol now allowed at midnight, rather than 11pm.  The new 12pm limit for alcohol sales will also apply to supermarkets and other shops which sell alcohol. 

On Friday, the maximum number of people allowed to partake in indoor gatherings also increases to 100. 

June 12th:

The number of spectators allowed at Parken football stadium has been increased from 15,900 to 25,000, but the Danish Football Association told the TV2 broadcaster that it was not ready to host 25,000 fans when Denmark plays Finland in Copenhagen on Saturday.

June 14th:

From Monday morning, face masks will no longer be required apart from when standing on public transport, and when entering or leaving carriages or buses. 

From June 14th, there will also no longer be a requirement to wear a face mask in taxis, at stations, or on train platforms. 

However, at a press conference on Thursday, the director of the Danish Health Authority, Søren Brostrøm said that masks were still recommended for anyone who: 

  • enters the public sphere when they are ill 
  • has coronavirus symptoms
  • knows they are infected with coronavirus
  • has been in close contact with an infected person
  • is in self-isolation and need to see a doctor or get tested

A coronavirus passport will no longer be required to enter public libraries, when doing activities linked to voluntary organisations or clubs, at evening classes, or for those taking classes under the Folkeuniversitetet adult education system. 

Kindergartens, primary schools, after-school clubs, and centres for youth and adult education will be allowed to return to a normal timetable. 

Schools and kindergratens may also be able to do away with many of the hygiene and distancing routines they have followed since April last year. Although the details have yet to be published by Denmark’s education ministry, some of the precautions likely to be dropped include:

  • the need for parents to wear face masks when they drop off or pick up their children at school or kindergarten
  • the ban on parents entering the main rooms in kindergartens
  • the ban on children playing with other children from different divisions of a kindergarten
  • the extra cleaning and disinfection of toys brought in last April 

Staff at kindergartens and primary schools who wish to wear a protective visor will continue to have the right to do so, Denmark’s ministry of education said in a press release on Friday.

July 1st

In three weeks’ time, restaurants where customers “essentially sit down” will no longer need to be able to provide two square metres of space per customer or ensure a two-metre gap between each different party of customers. 

The maximum number of people allowed to partake in indoor gatherings will also increase to 250. 

July 15th:

From the middle of July, bars and restaurants will be able to stay open until 2am. Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will also be relaxed further. 

August 1st.

From the start of August, a valid coronavirus pass will no longer be needed for: 

  • events with fewer than 2,000 spectators
  • casinos, theatres, and cinemas with fewer than 500 spectators. 
  • museums
  • amusement parks
  • zoos
  • ondoor sports activities
  • markets
  • fairs and animal shows
  • conferences and business meetings 
  • outdoor sports events, including football matches 

A coronavirus pass will still be needed to attend gyms and fitness centres, however, but the guidelines may be changed so that gym operators only have to make daily spot checks on customers, rather than check every single visitor. 

According to a press release issued on Friday June 11th by Denmark’s education ministry, the requirement to have a valid coronavirus test to attend classes at youth and adult education centres, and at “efterskole” — the unique voluntary boarding schools where Danish young men and women can study predominantly cultural subjects. 

As every efterskole is residential, however, it will still be strong encouraged to get tested. 

September 1st:

From September 1st, nightclubs and discos will be able reopen for those carrying a valid coronavirus pass, with some of them opening their doors for the first time since March 2020. 

Visitors to gyms and fitness centres will no longer need to show a valid coronavirus pass. 

It will no longer be required to wear a face mask even when standing on public transport, or when entering or leaving carriages or buses. 

Employees at kindergartens will no longer be recommended to get tested regularly, apart from those who have not been vaccinated. 

October 1st:

By October 1st, the recommendation to get tested will no longer apply to primary and secondary schools, and a coronavirus pass will no longer be required anywhere in Denmark, even for nightclubs and discos, meaning the last remaining coronavirus restriction will be lifted.

Member comments

  1. What about international restrictions? How can the country still be closed to visitors and full on parties are allowed?

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COVID-19 ALERT

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

A resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe, this time driven by new, fast-spreading Omicron subvariants, is once again threatening to disrupt people's summer plans.

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

Several Western European nations have recently recorded their highest daily case numbers in months, due in part to Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

The increase in cases has spurred calls for increased vigilance across a continent that has relaxed most if not all coronavirus restrictions.

The first resurgence came in May in Portugal, where BA.5 propelled a wave that hit almost 30,000 cases a day at the beginning of June. That wave has since started to subside, however.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: German Health Ministry lays out autumn Covid plan

Italy recorded more than 62,700 cases on Tuesday, nearly doubling the number from the previous week, the health ministry said. 

Germany meanwhile reported more than 122,000 cases on Tuesday. 

France recorded over 95,000 cases on Tuesday, its highest daily number since late April, representing a 45-percent increase in just a week.

Austria this Wednesday recorded more than 10,000 for the first time since April.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Cases have also surged in Britain, where there has been a seven-fold increase in Omicron reinfection, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS blamed the rise on the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but also said Covid fell to the sixth most common cause of death in May, accounting for 3.3 percent of all deaths in England and Wales.

BA.5 ‘taking over’

Mircea Sofonea, an epidemiologist at the University of Montpellier, said Covid’s European summer wave could be explained by two factors.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

One is declining immunity, because “the protection conferred by an infection or a vaccine dose decreases in time,” he told AFP.

The other came down to the new subvariants BA.4 and particularly BA.5, which are spreading more quickly because they appear to be both more contagious and better able to escape immunity.

Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus and immunity unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said BA.5 was “taking over” because it is 10 percent more contagious than BA.2.

“We are faced with a continuous evolution of the virus, which encounters people who already have antibodies — because they have been previously infected or vaccinated — and then must find a selective advantage to be able to sneak in,” he said.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

But are the new subvariants more severe?

“Based on limited data, there is no evidence of BA.4 and BA.5 being associated with increased infection severity compared to the circulating variants BA.1 and BA.2,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said last week.

But rising cases can result in increasing hospitalisations and deaths, the ECDC warned.

Could masks be making a comeback over summer? (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Alain Fischer, who coordinates France’s pandemic vaccine strategy, warned that the country’s hospitalisations had begun to rise, which would likely lead to more intensive care admissions and eventually more deaths.

However, in Germany, virologist Klaus Stohr told the ZDF channel that “nothing dramatic will happen in the intensive care units in hospitals”.

Return of the mask? 

The ECDC called on European countries to “remain vigilant” by maintaining testing and surveillance systems.

“It is expected that additional booster doses will be needed for those groups most at risk of severe disease, in anticipation of future waves,” it added.

Faced with rising cases, last week Italy’s government chose to extend a requirement to wear medical grade FFP2 masks on public transport until September 30.

“I want to continue to recommend protecting yourself by getting a second booster shot,” said Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who recently tested positive for Covid.

READ ALSO: Spain to offer fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to ‘entire population’

Fischer said France had “clearly insufficient vaccination rates” and that a second booster shot was needed.

Germany’s government is waiting on expert advice on June 30 to decide whether to reimpose mandatory mask-wearing rules indoors.

The chairman of the World Medical Association, German doctor Frank Ulrich Montgomery, has recommended a “toolbox” against the Covid wave that includes mask-wearing, vaccination and limiting the number of contacts.

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