Beginning February 1, Denmark will no longer impose COVID restrictions on its citizens. It said that it will also reclassify COVID as a condition that no longer poses a threat to society. This is despite an ongoing surge that is infecting a record number of Danes.
Denmark Ends COVID Restrictions Beginning February 1
Denmark, which features one of the highest vaccination rates worldwide, said they won’t extend COVID restrictions after January 31.
According to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, “Tonight we can … find the smile again. We have incredibly good news, we can now remove the last coronavirus restrictions in Denmark”.
Frederiksen based her decision on recommendations from the Epidemic Commission. All of Denmark’s major parties gave their support to the proposal.
The Scandinavian country’s decision to reclassify COVID supports a trending European idea. Governments should start seeing COVID as endemic instead of a pandemic.
The idea, while gaining rising support in Europe, faces opposition from the World Health Organization. Agency experts warned against complacency against the virus.
Endemic Instead of Pandemic
While Denmark was the first to declare their reclassification of the virus, other counties are also scaling back COVID restrictions. Ireland and the United Kingdom are also reducing their restrictions as they see Omicron as less dangerous than other variants.
More importantly, current COVID restrictions do not seem to stop the transmission of the disease. The virus infected about a million the previous two months.
However, hospitalization rates are rapidly declining. Despite a 5.8 million population, only 44 patients are in intensive care units. In fact, this number is down from 73 two weeks ago.
“The pandemic is still here but with what we know, we now dare to believe that we are through the critical phase,” Frederiksen noted
New Omicron Variant Spreading Faster In Denmark
However, COVID is spreading fast in the country due to a new subvariant of Omicron. Scientists said that Omicron BA.2 spreads about 1.5 times compared to BA.1. The latter accounts for98% of cases worldwide.
Other Scandinavian countries are likely to follow suit. Swedish authorities are extending their restrictions due to a surge in infections but will likely remove them in two weeks.
Norway is ready to slow down COVID restrictions. Its Institute of Public Health said that only extreme measures can slow down Omicron.
Revaccination Helped Denmark Make It Decision
Beginning today, Denmark will resume normal operating hours for its restaurants and bars. It will also stop requiring it COVID passports. In addition, face masks may no longer be necessary for stores and indoor events.
According to Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, the high vaccination rate helped.
“The situation in Denmark is that we have this decoupling between infections and intensive care patients,” he said. He added that the large attachment among Danes to revaccinate helped.
“That is the reason why it is safe and the right thing to do now,” he added. Denmark boasts of an 82% population that’s fully vaccinated with two doses. 50% of those vaccinated also received a booster third dose.
Watch the Bloomberg Quicktake Now video reporting that Denmark to end all Covid restrictions on February 1:
What do you think of Denmark’s decision to remove all COVID restrictions? Does this make sense despite a high number of cases?
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