Covid-19: Denmark scales down PCR test capacity as cases decline

Danish authorities are to reduce the country’s capacity for administering PCR tests for Covid-19.

Queues for Covid-19 testing in Denmark
Queues for Covid-19 testing in Denmark have become less common since the country scrapped coronavirus restrictions. Photo: Keld Navntoft/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Critical Supply Agency (Styrelsen for Forsyningssikkerhed) confirmed the decision on Monday, citing a decline in demand for tests after the winter wave of Covid-19 infections, driven by the Omicron variant of the virus, reached its peak.

Denmark lifted Covid-19 restrictions at the beginning of February. One consequence of this is a lower demand for testing.

Last week saw fewer than 100,000 PCR tests on average conducted daily.

A gradual scaling-down of capacity will be initiated, the agency said.

“We are already seeing that transmissions are beginning to fall in the areas that previously had the most infections. We expect that trend to continue as a result of inceasing immunity and seasonal effect,” said the director of the infectious disease State Serum Institute (SSI), Henrik Ullum.

“There will therefore probably be a need for fewer tests in the spring,” he said.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Infections trend downwards in all Danish regions

PCR test capacity will be initially reduced from 200,000 tests to 140,000 tests per day nationally, the supplies agency said. Further downscaling can occur in line with any fall in the number of tests administered, depending on demand.

All of Denmark’s rapid antigen Covid-19 test centres are meanwhile to close by March 6th.

The rapid test centres, which have been phased out throughout February with more emphasis placed on home testing, will be decommissioned completely in the first week of next month.

Monday saw 16,578 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in SSI’s daily update, with 56,419 PCR testes conducted. That gives a test positivity rate of 29 percent.

The figure is the second-lowest daily total for new cases in February, with only the 16,454 registered the preceding day being lower during the month.

READ ALSO: Denmark to close Covid-19 rapid test centres by March

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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’