By David Averre For Mailonline and Afp
Denmark will remove virtually all Covid restrictions from next Tuesday, as the Prime Minister announced the nation will go back to ‘life as we knew it before corona’ and that the disease was no longer ‘threatening for society’.
The move will see the Scandinavian nation become the first European Union country to lift all of its domestic curbs despite the Omicron wave sweeping the continent.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen credited the country’s high vaccination rate for allowing the removal of restrictions, saying the protection the jabs provided would suffice for the far less lethal Omicron variant.
‘We are saying farewell to the restrictions and welcome to life as we knew it before corona,’ Frederiksen told a press conference yesterday.
‘[The vaccine] has been superweapon. It has given us a solid defence against infection that continues.
‘That’s why the government decided that coronavirus should no longer be considered a threatening disease for society.’
The move has set a precedent for other European countries to follow suit, as the Omicron Covid variant has proven to be relatively mild despite a soaring infection rate.
Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen holds a joint press conference on the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Copenhagen, Denmark, on January 26, 2022. ‘We are saying farewell to the restrictions and welcome to life as we knew it before corona,’ Frederiksen told the press conference yesterday.
The Danish government will from next Tuesday lift all domestic restrictions, including the use of a vaccine pass, mask-wearing and early closings for bars and restaurants.
Denmark intends however to keep some border measures in place for another four weeks, including tests and/or quarantine depending on travellers’ immunity status.
The Scandinavian country had already lifted all restrictions on September 10, before re-introducing the use of a Covid pass at the beginning of November and later bringing in new restrictions as cases soared again.
Copenhagen saw widespread protests against the use of vaccine passes earlier this month, before the Danish government opted to remove restrictions thanks to a high vaccination uptake and an extremely low death rate.
In neighbouring Sweden, authorities announced that current restrictions would remain in place for at least another two weeks.
However, Health Minister Lena Hallengren said the ‘majority of restrictions’ could be removed on February 9 if ‘the situation has stabilised then.’
Faced with a lower level of hospitalisations than in previous waves, several European countries, including France, Ireland and the United Kingdom, have announced the lifting or a considerable reduction of their restrictions, despite record or very high cases.
The Danish government will from next Tuesday lift all domestic restrictions, including the use of a vaccine pass, mask-wearing and early closings for bars and restaurants (Pictured: guests enjoy a glass of wine in Copenhagen last April amid easing restrictions)
Copenhagen saw widespread protests against the use of vaccine passes earlier this month, but the Danish government has now opted to remove restrictions thanks to a high vaccination uptake and an extremely low death rate (protests in Copenhagen, Jan 09, 2022)
In England, the only legal restriction in place from Thursday will be for people who test positive to isolate.
In Denmark, health authorities ‘recommend’ people who test positive to isolate for four days, but the citizens will not be legally bound to do so.
The country of 5.8 million people registered 46,000 new cases on Tuesday, a very high level, but authorities said: ‘our current assessment is that the epidemic will soon peak.
‘We have good control over hospitalisation rates, thanks to a combination of 3.5 million Danes revaccinated and the less severe nature of Omicron.’
‘[The vaccine] has been superweapon. It has given us a solid defence against infection that continues,’ Mette Frederiksen said. ‘That’s why the government decided that coronavirus should no longer be considered a threatening disease for society.’
More than 60 percent of Danes have received a third dose, one month ahead of the health authorities’ schedule.
In the last week, the most vulnerable people have been able to have a fourth jab.
While the number of people hospitalised with Covid continues to rise and has now exceeded 900, health authorities said the situation was under control.
At the beginning of January, the number of hospitalisations was up 16 percent even though cases climbed 35 percent.
In addition, the number of people in intensive care has gone down, from 74 in early January to 44 on Wednesday.
The Danish Health Authority said 35 percent of those in hospital with Covid actually went to hospital for a different diagnosis.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group