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 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.