Denmark reinstates coronapas at restaurants, bars and events

Rules requiring a valid Covid-19 health pass (coronapas) at bars, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs as well as large events took Denmark on Friday after parliamentary approval of the measure earlier this week.

A valid Covid-19 health pass or coronapas will be required in some parts of Danish society again from November 12th.
A valid Covid-19 health pass or coronapas will be required in some parts of Danish society again from November 12th. Photo: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

A majority in parliament’s epidemic committee including parties on both the left and right wing supported the government’s position, reintroducing the coronapas from Friday while also raising Covid-19 to the status of “critical threat” to society.

The heightened status enables the government to introduce restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, provided a majority on the committee does not oppose this.

The move to bring back the coronapas was backed by parliament as expected, following the government announcement on Monday that it wanted to intervene amid a surge in cases and hospitalisations with the virus.

READ ALSO: Why is ‘critical threat’ status of Covid-19 important in Denmark?

Effective from Friday, a valid coronapas will be required at bars, restaurants, cafés, nightclubs and other 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. This includes amusement parks, casinos and adventure and water parks as well as concerts, conferences and lectures.

The period for which earlier infection can form the basis for a valid coronapas is reduced from 12 months to 6 months.

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

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. It was first used in Denmark in the spring and was dropped in September when coronavirus restrictions were lifted.

The status of critical threat to society will apply for an initial one month before being reevaluated.

That is a shorter period than the four months preferred by the government.

“This is a quite far-reaching intervention. I therefore think it’s sensible to test the decision once a month,” said Peder Hvelplund, health spokesperson with the left wing party Red Green Alliance.

The opposition Liberal party also backed the one-month expiry set by parliament.

“It was important for the Liberal party that the period was made markedly shorter so we can assess the situation on an ongoing basis and so we can remove unnecessary restrictions,” Liberal health spokesperson Martin Geertsen said in a written comment.

The decision to classify Covid-19 as a critical threat to society is taken by parliament’s epidemic committee (Epidemiudvalget), which includes 21 members of parliament with each party represented proportionally.


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Denmark’s autumn Covid-19 strategy to be presented ‘before summer’

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday that the government will soon present a strategy for managing Covid-19 should the virus resurge in Denmark next autumn and winter.

Denmark’s autumn Covid-19 strategy to be presented 'before summer'

Although everyday life in Denmark is now free of any signs of Covid-19 restrictions, a plan will be put in place to manage a potential increase in cases of the virus once colder months return, Frederiksen said during remarks in parliament.

During a speech given as part of the parliament’s closing session before its summer break, Frederiksen noted that the coronavirus still persists in other countries and that Denmark must therefore have its own plan in place for future management of outbreaks.

“The government will therefore, before the summer (holiday), present a strategy for ongoing Covid management. We will discuss it with the other parties in parliament,” she said.

Frederiksen also said that Denmark was among the countries to have coped best with the pandemic.

“We are one of the countries that have had the lowest excess deaths. And one of the countries that has emerged best from the crisis economically. That is thanks to the efforts of each individual citizen in the country,” she said.

A new wave of Covid-19 cases later this year can be expected, according to a Danish medical expert.

“As things look now, we can reasonably hope that the thoroughly vaccinated population will be well protected against serious cases and that we will therefore see few hospitalisations,” Henrik Nielsen, senior medical consultant at Aalborg University’s infectious disease department, told news wire Ritzau.

“But the number of infections could very easily be high in the autumn and winter with a respiratory virus that gives a few days’ sickness. We expected serious cases to be limited in number,” he said.