When are Covid-19 home tests used in Denmark?

Home tests for Covid-19 are to be offered to school children and staff across Denmark as part of the government’s strategy to keep schools open.

Home or
Home or "self" tests for Covid-19 are to be offered at schools in Denmark from January 5th 2022 as part of the strategy to control transmission of the coronavirus. File photo: Erik Johansen/NTB/Ritzau Scanpix

With twice weekly testing advised for children and staff at schools by health authorities, parents will be offered free home testing kits as of January 5th.

Regular testing, including with the home tests, is one of a number of key tools which can be used to help keep schools open amid high current national infection numbers, education minister Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil said on Tuesday.

All children from first grade up, along with staff, are encouraged to test twice weekly for Covid-19.

Parents are offered home testing kits for this purpose, should they wish to use them, although they can also continue to use the testing centres of they prefer.

While home tests will be offered for free at schools, they can also be purchased in Denmark at some pharmacies and online.

Home testing for Covid-19 has not been as widely used in Denmark so far during the pandemic in comparison to other countries – for example the United Kingdom, where it is common to hear references to “LFTs” (lateral flow tests or rapid antigen tests for Covid-19, which are taken at home) before gatherings or for screening purposes.

Instead, high capacity for both municipal PCR testing and rapid antigen testing by contracted private companies at test centres has sought to meet Denmark’s screening and testing demands.

In addition to PCR and rapid test centres, home testing kits can be used in Denmark provided they have the CE mark, according to the country’s official Covid-19 information page

The official site advises use of the home tests in situations including “prior to a larger party or if you cannot avoid being with a lot of people”.

They can also be used if you “are to be with a person at increased risk of serious illness with Covid-19” and for school testing, it states.

A negative home test does not provided a valid coronapas (Covid-19 health pass), which must currently be shown at bars, restaurants and cafes among other settings.

If a home or “self test” returns a positive result, a PCR test must be taken “as soon as possible” to confirm the result.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Denmark could return to ‘normal life in two months’

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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.