Denmark to close Covid-19 rapid test centres by March

The Danish government says all of the country’s privately-contracted rapid antigen Covid-19 test centres will close by no later than March 6th.

Denmark's Covid-19 rapid test centres are to disappear by March. PCR testing sites will continue.
Denmark's Covid-19 rapid test centres are to disappear by March. PCR testing sites will continue. Photo: Keld Navntoft/Ritzau Scanpix

The Agency for Critical Supplies (Styrelsen for Forsyningssikkerhed) confirmed the decision in a statement on Friday.

Denmark no longer treats Covid-19 as presenting a critical threat to society, hence the phased closure of the rapid test centres, which are run privately under government contracts.

“For over a year, regions [health authorities, ed.], private contractors and many thousands of swabbers have worked hard to do a very important job for society, and we owe a huge thank you for their extraordinary efforts,” the critical supplies agency’s director Lisbet Zilmer-Johns said in a statement.

“We have now reached the point at which we can test ourselves at home, while all restrictions have meanwhile been lifted, so we no longer have the same need for rapid test centres. But you will still be able to get a PCR test,” she said.

READ ALSO: When are Covid-19 home tests used in Denmark?

The rapid antigen test centre capacity will be 200,000 tests per day by Monday February 7th and then gradually reduced.

A capacity of 500,000 rapid tests daily was introduced at the beginning of January, while the highest capacity last spring saw Denmark capable of administering around 670,000 rapid tests each day.

The PCR testing capacity will also be 200,000 per day from Monday. PCR test centres are run by local health authorities. There are around 160 PCR testing sites in Denmark currently. These will remain open after March 6th.

Because Denmark has now scrapped Covid-19 restrictions, testing for the purpose of a valid coronapas (Covid-19 health pass) is no longer necessary within the country.

But Danish residents may still need a test for the purpose of travelling abroad, depending on the rules applied in their destination country. If that is the case, they should use the PCR test centres, the critical supplies agency recommends in a statement.

Travel restrictions were also eased this week, meaning most people no longer have to test or quarantine on arrival in Denmark regardless of where in the world they are travelling from.

People who are neither vaccinated nor previously infected must take a test for Covid-19 for entry to Denmark from EU or Schengen countries, however, while unvaccinated people with no infection history travelling from outside the EU and Schengen area must also test and may be required to quarantine. In these cases, travellers will also need to use Danish Covid-19 testing facilities.

According to the most recent daily update on Friday, 164,933 PCR tests were administered in Denmark in the preceding 24 hours along with 127,452 rapid antigen tests at test centres. 40,179 people tested positive for Covid-19, but only positive results from PCR tests are included in this statistic.

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Covid-19: Denmark halves test capacity due to low infection numbers

Denmark is to cut its Covid-19 testing capacity due to low demand at municipal PCR test centres.

Covid-19: Denmark halves test capacity due to low infection numbers

The daily number of PCR tests at local centres will therefore be reduced from 40,000 to 20,000, the Agency for Critical Supplies (Styrelsen for Forsyningssikkerhed) confirmed in a statement on Monday.

Some test centres are expected to close due to the reduced operations.

“The downscaling is expected to result in a further reduction in the number of test locations, while opening times will be adjusted in the country’s test centres,” the agency said in the statement.

“These adjustments will take place on an ongoing basis,” it added.

Recent months have seen Covid-19 infections receding in Denmark after the winter wave, which was driven by the Omicron variant of the virus.

Health authorities have credited a high level of immunity in the community, due to previous infections, and a high vaccination rate including booster vaccinations, in reducing the spread of the coronavirus throughout the spring.

Covid-19 is also known to be transmitted less during warmer seasons.

The lower number of cases is linked to the reduced demand for testing in Denmark. Last week saw an average of around 5,000 tests administered daily.

The government is expected later this year to present a Covid-19 testing strategy for late 2022 and next winter.

Denmark lifted the majority of its Covid-19 restrictions in February, with final travel restrictions ending in March.

Health authorities now only recommend taking a PCR test for Covid-19 if you have symptoms and are at risk of serious illness should you contract the virus.

Testing is no longer recommended for close contacts of people who have the virus or are suspected to have it.

READ ALSO: Denmark says Covid-19 testing now only needed for ‘special medical reasons’