What are Denmark’s current coronapas rules?

The validity period for Denmark’s Covid-19 health pass, the coronapas, looks likely to be reduced. The health documentation is currently required in a range of settings.

Denmark's Covid-19 health pass, the coronapas, must currently be presented in a range of settings.
Denmark's Covid-19 health pass, the coronapas, must currently be presented in a range of settings. Photo: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Health Authority wants to reduce the validity period of the coronapas following the second vaccine dose and after recovery from infection from Covid-19, the authority said in a press statement on Thursday January 6th.

The basis for the decision is Denmark’s high infection rate with the coronavirus currently, as well as the decline in the efficacy of vaccines against the Omicron variant within six months of their administration, the health authority said.

Under current rules, a coronapas is valid for seven months after a person is fully vaccinated or has received a booster jab.

Recovery from Covid-19, giving conferred immunity, gives a valid coronapas for six months.

The validity of the health pass would be reduced to five months in both cases should the rule change advocated by the Danish Health Authority be implemented.

Parliamentary approval is required for the rule change to come into effect. This looks likely at the time of writing, with a majority of parties already stating support for the move.

READ ALSO: Denmark considers reducing Covid-19 health pass vaccine validity

A valid coronapas is currently required at bars, restaurants, cafes and other businesses with a licence to serve alcohol. Takeaway businesses are exempted from the requirement. Nightclubs are currently closed.

Other customer-facing businesses in the service sector are also required to ask customers to present a valid coronapas. These include hairdressers, tattoo parlours, beauty and massage clinics, solariums (if staffed), driving schools and driving test centres.

The health pass must also be presented on intercity trains (the InterCity and InterCityLyn services operated by national rail company DSB). This means tickets and travel cards are rendered invalid without a green coronapas. It must also be shown on regional buses.

A coronapas must also be shown in some educational settings, but not at elementary schools (folkeskoler). It is required at universities, language schools and other vocational and further education institutions.

Places of work are allowed by the current restrictions to ask staff to provide a valid coronapas in order to work on-site. Public sector staff (employees of the state or regional authorities) must all have a valid coronapas.

The health pass is additionally required to use gyms and swimming pools and at places of worship. In the latter case, the requirement only applies for congregations over 100 indoors and over 1,000 outdoors. It is therefore required for normal religious services as well as marriages, funeral, christenings and other religious rites if they take place with congregations over the relevant number.

In the social and health care sector, visitors to care homes and other social care facilities must have a valid coronapas. This also applies at hospitals although next of kin can be exempted. Children under the age of 15 are exempted in these settings, and guardians and lawyers or other forms of representative or carer can also be granted an exemption.

When travelling or returning to Denmark from abroad, you may be asked to provide a valid Covid-19 health pass, depending on the entry rules that apply to you.

Businesses, private cultural institutions and organisations are meanwhile allowed by the law to make stricter coronapas (or face mask) requirements of guest than those set out by the law. Any extra rules put into place must not be discriminative.

Coronapas requirements do not apply to children under the age of 15 and persons who have received municipal approval of an exemption. Such an exemption must be signed and issued by the municipality.

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Why Danish government is considering more scope for epidemic restrictions

The Danish government must currently receive the backing of parliament before implementing major interventions in response to a public health threat such as the Covid-19 pandemic. But an evaluation by two ministries suggests they favour more flexibility on the area.

Why Danish government is considering more scope for epidemic restrictions

Under current laws, parliament must vote to approve the categorisation of a disease as a ‘critical threat’ to society (samfundskritisk).

Only when a disease or an epidemic has been categorised in this way by parliament can all  of the interventions available to the government under the epidemic law be brought into play.

In other words, the government must face parliamentary checks and controls before implementing restrictions.

Those interventions range from the most invasive, such as lockdowns and assembly limits, to less invasive, but still significant, measures such as face mask mandates and health pass requirements like those seen with the coronapas (Covid-19 health pass) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Denmark decommissions country’s Covid-19 health pass

The Ministry of Health now wants to change the existing structure within the Epidemic Law, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported on Monday.

In an evaluation, the ministry proposes a change to the rules such that requirements for things like face masks and the coronapas can be introduced for diseases that are not only in the ‘critical threat’ category, but also for those rated an almen farlig sygdom, ‘dangerous to public health’.

This would put some of the restrictions in the lower category which is not subject to parliamentary control.

The evaluation was sent by the health and justice ministries to parliament in October but has escaped wider attention until now, Jyllands-Posten writes.

In its evaluation of the epidemic law, the Justice Ministry states that there is a “large jump” between the small pool of restrictions that can be introduced against ‘dangerous to public health diseases’ and the major societal interventions the government – with parliamentary backing – can use once a disease is classed as a ‘critical threat’.

“This jump does not quite seem to correspond with the actual demand for potential restrictions against diseases dangerous to public health, which can spread while not being critical to society,” the ministry writes.

The health ministry said in the evaluation the “consideration” should be made as to whether less invasive measures should continue to pass through parliament, as is the case under the current rules.

The national organisation for municipalities, KL, has told parliament that it backs the thinking of the ministries over the issue but that parliamentary control must be retained.

The Danish Council on Ethics (Det Etiske Råd) told Jyllands-Posten that it was “very sceptical” regarding the recommendation.

“The council therefore points out that a slippery slope could result if the restrictions, interventions and options that can be brought into use with diseases that present a critical threat to society, can also be used with dangerous diseases like normal influenza,” the council said.

The minority government’s allied political parties all stated scepticism towards the proposal, in comments reported by Jyllands-Posten.

In a written comment, the health ministry told the newspaper that Health Minister Magnus Heunicke would discuss committee stage responses with the other partied before deciding on “the need for initiatives”.