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Danish PM expects coming winter without Covid-19 lockdowns

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish PM expects coming winter without Covid-19 lockdowns
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Covid-19 lockdowns are not expected by authorities during the winter of 2022/23. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Wednesday that the Danish government and health authorities do not expect severe social restrictions such as lockdowns to be necessary should Covid-19 cases surge during the coming winter.

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Frederiksen outlined expectations at a briefing during which Denmark’s strategy for responding to an expected resurgence of the coronavirus during the colder months was presented.

READ ALSO: Denmark to offer all over-50s autumn Covid-19 vaccine

“We both hope and are working towards us not having to go through lockdowns, and that applies to all parts of our society,” she said.

Restrictions and lockdowns were used in Denmark during waves of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. March and April 2020, as well as a period stretching from December 2020 to February 2021, saw the strictest rules in place, including widespread closures of non-essential stores, entertainment and culture and limits on public assembly.

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The winter of 2021-2022 also saw some rules in place including face masks, Covid passes and limited opening hours for bars and restaurants, but these were fully lifted in early February this year.

Frederiksen said that she did not expect the strictest of those interventions – lockdowns – to be repeated this winter, but stressed nothing could be guaranteed.

Wednesday’s Covid-19 briefing was the first of its kind by the Danish government for several months.

The Prime Minister said that lockdowns are not expected to be necessary because of the high rate of vaccination amongst Danish residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She did not comment on whether a lesser measure such as face masks would be required again at some point.

“The most important tool is still the vaccines. They showed their value last winter,” she said.

“But we also know that the protection given by vaccines fall off over time and that health authorities expect a new (Covid-19) wave,” she said.

Senior government and health officials alike guaranteed at the briefing that no restrictions of any kind would return this summer.

Recent weeks have seen Covid-19 cases climbing in Denmark due to the emergence of a new subvariant of the Omicron variant.

This summer will be the first since 2019 with all major music festivals, including the Roskilde Festival, the largest in northern Europe. Denmark is also set to host the first stage of the Tour de France, an event expected to attract many spectators.

“As far as the risk to Denmark is concerned, there are no thoughts on our part of restrictions on the big events,” Danish Health Authority director Søren Brostrøm said.

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