Covid-19: Denmark cuts PCR test capacity by 60 percent

Denmark has downgraded the national capacity for daily Covid-19 PCR testing with case numbers declining, the national Agency for Critical Supplies (Styrelsen for Forsyningssikkerhed) said on Monday.

People queue for Covid-19 testing in Denmark in April 2021.
People queue for Covid-19 testing in Denmark in April 2021. The country has downgraded its capacity to the lowest level under the national model. Photo: Tim Barsoe/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

A lower demand for PCR tests is the reason for the downscaling of test capacity, the agency said. The capacity is now at the fifth and lowest level of authorities’ graded model for supplying Covid-19 testing.

The week commencing March 29th saw an average of around 15,000 tests administered daily. Official data shows that 2,080 new cases of Covid-19 were registered on Sunday among 12,508 PCR tests, giving a test positivity rate of around 17 percent. Generally, testing levels are now a fraction of those seen earlier in the pandemic.

The total capacity was on Monday adjusted from 100,000 tests per day to 40,000 tests per day.

“In conjunction with the downgrading of test capacity, the number of test centres and opening times will be revised,” the agency said.

“PCR testing in the health sector, which is used for inpatients or staff in the health system, will be unaffected,” it added.

Test capacity will remain at level five until the government presents a new testing strategy for the rest of 2022 along with next winter, the critical supplies authority also said.

In March, the Danish Health Authority changed its recommendations on when people with suspected Covid-19 should be tested for the coronavirus, with testing now only recommended if there is a “special medical reason” for doing so.

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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.

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