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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Denmark to close all remaining Covid-19 test centres by end of March

Health authorities in Denmark have decided that all regions will close any remaining Covid-19 test centres by the end of March.

Denmark to close all remaining Covid-19 test centres by end of March

The decision, confirmed by the South Denmark regional authority in a statement on Friday, reflects the limited demand for Covid-19 testing just under three years since the pandemic broke out in Denmark.

Closure of the remaining test centres does not mean it will no longer be possible to be tested for the coronavirus.

Instead, PCR tests will be offered at GP surgeries or hospitals if considered necessary by doctors. If there is no medical indication for a test, members of the public will be advised to use a self-administered lateral flow test.

Region South Denmark said that it would close its remaining centres in Odense, Svendborg, Vejle, Kolding, Aabenraa, Sønderborg, Esbjerg and on the island of Ærø on an ongoing basis by March 31st.

“It is good that Covid-19 is relatively minor in our society now, three years after the first Danes were infected with the disease,” the Region’s director Kurt Espersen said in the statement.

“National authorities have concluded that the response to corona now goes into a new phase,” he said.

“That means that public PCR testing is phased out by March 31st and that we can therefore close the regional test provisions that began in April 2020,” he said.

The closure of the state-funded test centres means regional health authorities will no longer receive money from the government to cover the operating costs of the testing facilities.

Some 67 million PCR tests have been administered at Danish Covid-19 test centres since they first appeared in April 2020, including 3.4 million positive tests according to national data.

Privately-operated antibody or “quick” test centres were phased out and closed last year, after giving around 61 million tests.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Denmark decides against additional booster this winter