If a parliamentary commission approves the government’s proposal later Wednesday, Denmark would become the first European Union country to lift curbs despite the Omicron wave sweeping the continent, according to a survey of news wire AFP’s bureaus.
“I would like… Covid-19 to no longer be categorised as a disease dangerous to society as of February 1st”, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke wrote in a letter to lawmakers.
That would lead to the de facto lifting of all domestic restrictions, including the use of a vaccine pass, mask-wearing and early closings for bars and restaurants.
Denmark would however keep some border measures in place for another four weeks, including tests and/or quarantine depending on travellers’ country of origin.
The Scandinavian country previously lifted all restrictions on September 10th, before reintroducing the use of the coronapas Covid health pass at the beginning of November and later introducing new restrictions.
In neighbouring Sweden, authorities announced that current restrictions would remain in place for at least another two weeks.
However, health minister Lena Hallengren told a press conference that the “majority of restrictions” could be removed on February 9th if “the situation has stabilised then.”
Faced with a lower level of hospitalisations than in previous waves, several European countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, have announced the lifting or a considerable reduction of their restrictions in recent days, despite record or very high cases.
In England, the only legal restriction in place from Thursday will be for people who test positive to isolate.
In Denmark, health authorities ask people who test positive to isolate for four days.
The country of 5.8 million people registered 46,000 new cases on Tuesday, a very high level, “but our current assessment is that the epidemic will soon peak”, Heunicke wrote on Twitter.
“We have good control over hospitalisation rates, thanks to a combination of 3.5 million Danes revaccinated and the less severe nature of Omicron.”
More than 60 percent of Danes have received a third dose, one month ahead of the health authorities’ schedule.
While the number of people hospitalised with a Covid infection continues to rise and has now exceeded 900, health authorities said the situation was under control.
At the beginning of January, the number of hospitalisations was up by 16 percent even though cases were up by 35 percent.
In addition, the number of people in intensive care has gone down, from 74 in early January to 44 on Wednesday.
The Danish Health Authority said that 35 percent of those in hospital with Covid were actually in hospital for another diagnosis.