What changes could Denmark make to Covid-19 restrictions by end of January?

Denmark’s advisory Epidemic Commission recommended on Wednesday that the country retains several of its current Covid-19 restrictions until the end of January, but some others could be eased.

Denmark's PM Mette Frederiksen in parliament on Wednesday. Some changes to Covid-19 rules could be confirmed this week.
Denmark's PM Mette Frederiksen in parliament on Wednesday. Some changes to Covid-19 rules could be confirmed this week. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The independent expert commission makes recommendations to the government over ongoing management of the pandemic.

Parliament’s Epidemic Committee – not to be confused with the Commission – was scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss whether and when to ease some of the current Covid-19 restrictions, including the closure of cinemas and theatres and limits on nightlife.

The Committee includes representatives from each of parliament’s political parties. It must not oppose new restrictions in order for them to come into effect.

Current restrictions on the cultural sector are scheduled to expire on Sunday.

Broadcaster TV2 reported on Wednesday that the Commission has advised that current restrictions on nightlife and licensed premises, which came into effect on December 19th, remain in place until January 31st.

That means sales of alcohol at bars, restaurants and other licensed establishments will remain banned after 10pm, with bars required to close by 11pm. A general shutdown applies to nightclubs.

General sales of alcohol are banned between 10pm and 5am.

The Commission has recommended the easing of some restrictions in other areas, meanwhile.

Concert halls, theatres, cinemas and museums could be allowed to open from January 16th, should the recommendations be adopted. Capacity limits and coronapas and face mask rules would apply.

Capacity rules at churches and other places of worship could also be lifted.

The final decision lies with the politicians on the Committee.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Tuesday that the government sought to “open as much as possible in the cultural sector as soon as possible”.

The government has called a briefing for 6pm on Wednesday after Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said her administration “intends to follow the recommendations” of the Commission, broadcaster DR reported.

READ ALSO: What are Denmark’s current face mask rules?

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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.