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Denmark’s Covid-19 contact tracing service to release 90 percent of staff

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Denmark’s Covid-19 contact tracing service to release 90 percent of staff
A file photo of a poster for Denmark's Covid-19 contact tracing app, Smittestop. Authorities are to release most contact tracing staff with demand down. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

The Covid-19 contact tracing system in Denmark is to be significantly downsized, with most staff to be let go.

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Reduced demand for contact tracing relative to earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic means that a significant proportion of staff are no longer required, the Danish Patient Safety Authority (Styrelsen fo Patientsikkerhed) told broadcaster DR.

The agency said that April 1st will see the contracts of around 1,000 staff expire, leaving around 100 employees remaining in the service. Around 3,000 people were employed as contact tracers when demand peaked.

The director of the Danish Patient Safety Authority, Anne Lykke Petri, praised contact tracers for their crucial contribution to Denmark’s pandemic response.

“We are fortunately in a different place now and these talented people are fortunately needed in other parts of society,” she said in a Twitter post.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your work,” she wrote.

The 100 contact tracers who will stay on into April will work as advisors when outbreaks occurs at places such as care homes, DR reports.

Contact tracing was put in place during the Covid-19 epidemic in Denmark as part of measures to limit transmission of the coronavirus in the community.

It aimed to find sources of transmission and ask close contacts to them to isolate and take a test for Covid-19. Tracers were also able to advise people who tested positive for the virus how to limit the risk of passing on the virus to others.

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The need for this service is now diminished with infection numbers declining and Covid-19 restrictions lifted since early February.

The Danish Health Authority last week changed guidelines on Covid-19 testing, only recommending members of the public to seek a test if there is a “special medical reason” for doing so.

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.

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

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