Denmark removes most COVID-19 restrictions

Denmark, Copenhagen — Denmark on Tuesday became one of the first European Union countries to abolish most pandemic regulations as Scandinavian countries no longer consider the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a “socially serious illness”. rice field.

Officials say the reason is that although Denmark has a surge in Omicron variants, it does not place a heavy burden on the health system and has high vaccination rates.

Denmark, a country of 5.8 million people, has seen an average of more than 50,000 cases per day in recent weeks, and the number of intensive care units in hospitals is declining.

Søren Brostrøm, head of the Danish Health Authority, told Danish broadcaster TV2 that he was paying attention to the number of ICUs, not the number of infections. He said the number was “falling, falling, incredibly low.” He said that 32 coronavirus patients are in the ICU. It was 80 a few weeks ago.

Wearing a face mask is the least visible limitation. This is no longer required for customers standing in the indoor areas of public transport, stores and restaurants. Authorities only recommend the use of masks in hospitals, medical facilities, and nursing homes.

Another restriction that is no longer needed is the digital pass used to enter night clubs, cafes, party buses, and sit indoors in restaurants.

“I don’t say it’s the last farewell to the restrictions. I don’t know what will happen in the fall. Is there a new variant,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told Danish radio.

Health officials are regularly inspected to maintain epidemic surveillance and, if necessary, urge Danes to “respond promptly as needed,” as Health Minister Magnus Hunicke said last week. did.

The Danish government has warned that infectious diseases may increase in the coming weeks in Denmark and said a fourth vaccination may be required.

The restriction was originally introduced in July, but was removed about 10 weeks after the successful vaccination drive. It was reintroduced when the infection surged.

In 2020, Denmark became one of the first European countries to close schools due to a pandemic, returning all non-important civil servants. In neighboring Finland, COVID-19 restrictions have ended this month, and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said the Social Democratic-led government will negotiate with other parties in parliament on a schedule to abolish measures.

On Monday, border control between Finland and other Schengen countries forming the ID check-free travel area in Europe was completed. This limitation was introduced at the end of December to slow the spread of the Omicron variant. Travelers from outside the EU will continue to meet border controls until at least February 14.

On Tuesday, the Norwegian daily Dagbladet reported the first case of COVID-19 on the island of Utsira in the North Sea.

“We have avoided it for two years,” Mayor Marte Aid Crovening told Dagbladet, adding that 188 residents of the island had been vaccinated. It was unclear how the virus reached an island about 120 km (75 miles) south of Bergen, Norway’s second largest city.

By Jan M. Olsen

Associated Press