Care workers in Denmark asked to take weekly Covid-19 test

Denmark on Friday lifted its last remaining Covid-19 restrictions, but people who work in the care sector have been asked to continue to get tested for the virus once a week.

Care workers in Denmark asked to take weekly Covid-19 test
Fikle photo: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Staff at care homes and people who work as home carers should take a PCR test for coronavirus once every week, the Danish Health Ministry and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Senior Citizens said in a statement on Friday.

Unvaccinated staff are asked to take a test twice weekly.

Visitors to care homes are meanwhile also asked to take a test once every week, regardless of vaccination status.

When a Covid-19 case is detected at a care home, all residents and staff are tested in order to break any infection chains.

“Care home residents are amongst the most vulnerable groups in relation to Covid-19. Many have already paid a high price with months of isolation last year. We do not want to go through that again,” minister for social affairs and the elderly Astrid Kragh said in the statement.

Testing facilities at care homes would be retained to enable staff to follow the guideline as conveniently as possible, health minister Magnus Heunicke said in the statement.

Denmark this week began giving care home residents a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as an immunity booster.

READ ALSO: Denmark to offer third Covid-19 vaccine dose to care home residents

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Denmark’s infectious disease agency does not recommend Covid tests for China arrivals

Travellers from China should not need a negative Covid-19 test when arriving in Denmark, the national infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute recommended on Saturday, in an assessment sent to the Ministry of Health.

Denmark's infectious disease agency does not recommend Covid tests for China arrivals

In the assessment by the State Serum Institute (SSI), it was noted that there aren’t expected to be a large number of arrivals coming directly from China and that any tests would have a marginal affect on Danish epidemic control.

However SSI wrote that it was still important to keep an eye on new variants of Covid-19 and suggested that a sample of voluntary-based PCR tests could be introduced for travellers from China.

The assessment was requested by Denmark’s health minister Sophie Løhde, following a recommendation on Wednesday by European Union experts to tighten travel rules.

Infection rates in China are high after it abolished its ‘zero Covid’ policy in late 2022, although no precise numbers are available.

Several European countries, including France, Spain, Italy and the UK, had already introduced testing requirements, while Sweden on Thursday announced a similar step, as did Germany, with an added announcement on Saturday to discourage non-essential travel from Germany to China.

The United States, Canada, India, South Korea and Taiwan have also put testing rules in place.

Health minister Sophie Løhde also asked SSI to assess testing waste water from aircraft landed from China. SSI responded that there is limited experience in this.

SSI currently analyses samples from shared toilet tanks at four airports twice a week – Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg and Billund. The method would have to be changed in order to detect new Covid-19 variants, which would take up to four weeks to implement, according to the assessment.

Løhde has informed the parliamentary parties about the assessment and has asked the Epidemic Commission for an advisory assessment, she said in a press release. Once this is done, the recommendations will be discussed.