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

The Danish Health Authority has changed its recommendations on when people with suspected Covid-19 should be tested for the coronavirus.

A file photo showing the exit at a Danish Covid-19 test centre.
A file photo showing the exit at a Danish Covid-19 test centre. The country on March 10th relaxed guidelines for its public testing provisions. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

In a statement released on Thursday, the health authority said that Covid-19 testing was now only recommended if there is a “special medical reason” for doing so.

“We can now make do with only going for a test if there is a special medical reason for doing so,” the head of department with the Danish Health Authority Bolette Søborg said in the statement.

Special medical reasons can include situations in which the result of a test can confirm the need for early treatment for Covid-19 to reduce the risk of developing serious disease.

Certain demographics are more likely to need early treatment for the coronavirus. These include people aged over 65 and others who are at risk of serious illness with Covid-19 due to existing medical conditions. Pregnant women are also considered part of this group.

“It is therefore important that this group goes for a test as soon as possible if they get symptoms of Covid-19 and feel unwell, and that they contact their doctor,” Søborg said.

The new guidelines mean that large parts of the Danish population no longer need to take a test if they experience Covid-19 symptoms. Neither to close contacts to people with Covid-19 need to take a test.

The health authority said good control of the Covid-19 epidemic in Denmark now means that testing rules can be relaxed.

Infection numbers have fallen and the number of new hospitalisations with the virus is low and stable, the authority said.

Testing is still needed more frequently in the health and social care sector, however.

That includes parts of the health service and elderly care in which the presence of vulnerable people means outbreaks must be kept under control.

Contact tracing will also be initiated when infections are detected in those areas.

The Danish Health Authority said it remains important to limit transmission of Covid-19 through good hygiene practises.

People who feel unwell should continue to stay home so as not to risk infecting others, it said.

READ ALSO: Covid infections in Denmark at lowest since January

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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.