SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19 RULES

Denmark to scrap ALL Covid-19 restrictions

Denmark will on September 10th stop classifying Covid-19 as an "illness which is a critical threat to society", meaning all remaining special pandemic restrictions will expire.

Denmark to scrap ALL Covid-19 restrictions
The Buddy Holly disco in Frederikshavn back in 2006. From September 10th, you will not even need a coronapas to go to a nightclub. Photo: Søren Bidstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

In a press release issued on Friday morning, the country’s health minister Magnus Heunicke said that the high level of vaccination in Denmark, particularly among the vulnerable, had radically altered the risks posed by the virus.

“The epidemic is under control, we have record high vaccination rates,” he said in a statement. “As a result, on September 10th, we can drop some of the special rules we have had to introduce in the fight against Covid-19.”

September 10th marks the expiry date for that the executive order classifying Covid-19 as a “socially critical illness”, which was passed by the Danish parliament’s Epidemic Committee on March 10th last year. 

You can read our detailed article explaining what the change means here

READ MORE: 

The parties in the centre-right blue bloc, led by the Liberal Party, have already said that they believe that Covid-19 should no longer be classed as a serious threat to society, and the health ministry’s announcement came less than an hour before the ruling Social Democrats were due to discuss the issue with the other parties in the Epidemic Committee. 

“When it sinks in for the Social Democrat government that they are in a minority, they then come up with better ideas just 45 minutes before the meeting in the Epidemic Committee is starting,” said Sophie Løhde, a member of the committee for the Liberal Party. 

A number of restrictions are set to lapse on September 1st, notably the requirement to show a valid coronapas to sit in restaurants and bars, and the ban on discos and nightclubs.  

Friday’s announcement means that just ten days after nightclubs reopen on September 1st, visitors will no longer have to show a coronapas, and it also means that from September 10th, those going to watch a Superliga football match or attend an outdoor event with more than 2,000 people, will no longer need a coronapas. 

The change in the classification of Covid-19 will not, however, affect rules on travel into Denmark, which are governed by a separate inter-party agreement which is due to expire in October, a spokesperson for the health ministry said. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

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.

SHOW COMMENTS