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COVID-19

Danish government confirms plan to reintroduce coronapas

Denmark’s government said Monday evening it wants to reintroduce a requirement to show a valid coronapas, the country's Covid-19 health pass, at nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and at large events.

Denmark's government confirmed on November 8th that it plans to reintroduce requirements to produce a valid Covid-19 health pass at bars, restaurants and large events. The move would require parliament not to oppose it.
Denmark's government confirmed on November 8th that it plans to reintroduce requirements to produce a valid Covid-19 health pass at bars, restaurants and large events. The move would require parliament not to oppose it. Photo: Olafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

The government supports upgrading Covid-19 to the status of “critical threat to society” on Monday evening, in a step which allows restrictions to be introduced. This would pave the way for the return of the coronapas.

In a briefing, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen confirmed the government wants to reintroduce requirements to show a valid coronapas at bars and restaurants and to attend some events in Denmark. Coronapas requirements were lifted in September after being originally introduced in the spring.

“We cannot let the virus run wild in Denmark,” Frederiksen said.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed a valid coronapas would be needed at nightclubs, cafes, on party buses and at indoors venues where food and drink are served.

The health pass will also be required at indoor events with over 200 spectators and outdoors events with over 2,000 spectators.

Frederiksen also called for more people in Denmark to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“It can’t be said clearly enough. Those of you who are not yet been vaccinated: do so,” she said.

“For all of you who are not vaccinated, (things) are going to become more difficult. And that’s also how I think it should be,” she added.

Denmark currently has a Covid-19 vaccination rate of just over 75 percent.

The coronapas is used to document a recent negative Covid-19 test or immunity against the virus due to vaccination or recent recovery from infection.

The period for which earlier infection can form the basis for a valid coronapas will be reduced from 12 months to 6 months, Heunicke said during the briefing.

Rules requiring the pass will apply to those over the age of 15, in a change from the earlier minimum age of 16.

The government’s advisory Epidemic Commission earlier on Monday recommended the change of status of Covid-19 from “infectious disease” to a “critical threat” to society. That is a reversal of the move in September, when earlier restrictions were lifted. 

The government confirmed through Monday’s briefing that it agrees with the recommendation of the Commission.

Danish law now requires an epidemic to have the status of a critical threat to society for the government to be able to introduce restrictions like face mask mandates, assembly limits and lockdowns, as well as coronapas requirements.

A majority in parliament must not oppose the government’s position in order for the heightened threat level to come into effect. In practice, this means the parliamentary epidemic committee (udvalg in Danish, not to be confused with the commission, kommission) must back the move.

The parliamentary committee includes representation from all parties, and a majority must support any change. That committee is to address the issue at a meeting on Tuesday.

Some conservative parties earlier expressed reservations about making Covid-19 again a “critical threat”, opening the door to restrictions. It is unclear at the time of writing whether a majority currently supports making the change.

Clamour for the return of some measures against the virus in Denmark has grown in November as infection numbers have risen.

Experts last week called for the reintroduction of the health pass, along with the use of facemasks, as a way to reduce infections “here and now”. The director of the Danish Health Authority Søren Brostrøm on Friday called for politicians to reintroduce the coronapas.

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Monday saw the fifth consecutive day with over 2,000 new cases of Covid-19 in Denmark. 2,294 people tested positive from 102,000 PCR tests, a test positivity rate of 2.25 percent.

Over 300 people are now admitted to Danish hospitals with the virus after that total rose to 303 on Monday. That is the highest number since February 15th.

Heunicke said during the briefing that the number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients had further increased to 313 during Monday.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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