Denmark changes rules for Covid-19 contact tracing

Denmark has changed its procedure for Covid-19 contact tracing, allowing people who test positive for the virus to provide details online instead of over the phone.

Denmark has moved some of its Covid-19 contact tracing online amid record infection rates.
Denmark has moved some of its Covid-19 contact tracing online amid record infection rates. File photo:Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Patient Safety Authority confirmed in a statement that contact tracing information can now be provided on the platform. This requires users to login using the NemID or MitID secure digital ID system.

In addition, close contacts to confirmed cases can be given priority for PCR tests – allowing them to skip waiting times for testing – without speaking to contact tracer over the phone.

Recent record high infection rates in Denmark have resulted in strain on the contact tracing system and long telephone queues for close contacts and people who have tested positive for the virus.

As such, it is hoped that the change in tracing procedures will ease some of the pressure on the contact tracing system.

“We are introducing this solution because members of the public are experiencing long waiting times on the telephone and would rather (submit information) themselves. We also have members of the public who are well informed and can help with contact tracing,” Danish Patient Safety Authority deputy director Birgitte Drewes said.

“We also need to use our resources correctly and prioritise members of the public who need extra help and guidance,” she added.

“You can also expect us to call in future even if you have submitted information, but we won’t be calling 15 times,” she added.

After receiving a positive test result, it will be possible to enter details – such as information relating to the place of infection – via the platform.

Infected persons will be able to provide a test ID to close contacts which will allow them to book higher priority tests on the website, which must be used to book PCR tests.

The new online systems are expected to become available this week.

Telephone assistance will still be available for people who can or do not want to use the online version.

READ ALSO: Appointments needed for all PCR tests in Denmark

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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.