The nation, one of the first now go all-in aggressive pandemic response, now ‘Welcomes the life we knew before.”
Denmark has had among the most robust pandemic restrictions in place since 2020. It was one of the first European counties in 2020 to close schools and send employees home.
Now, the nation is slated to end those restrictions within the week.
Denmark aims to scrap all remaining domestic COVID-19 restrictions next week, following on from similar announcements in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands in the past week despite high numbers of Omicron infections in Europe.
The Nordic country already loosened restrictions two weeks ago after a month-long lockdown, allowing cinemas and music venues to reopen, but some rules remain, including limited opening hours for restaurants and mandatory face masks. read more
In a letter to parliament, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said the government intends to follow recommendations issued by an expert panel on Tuesday to scrap all restrictions by Feb 1.
Denmark joins the now expanding list of counties, including the United Kingdom and France, ending most if not all of their pandemic policies in the wake of the highly infectious by relatively mild (for most people) Omicron variant.
Included in the rules being tossed away are mask mandates.
Restrictions currently in place are for the public to wear masks on public transportations, in restaurants, in shops, and people entering healthcare facilities and retirement homes, according to the Associated Press. However, following the February 1 change of restrictions, masks will only be required in hospitals, healthcare facilities and homes for the elderly.
“We say goodbye to the restrictions and welcome the life we knew before,” Frederiksen said. “As of Feb. 1, Denmark will be open.”
According to Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, Denmark’s recent cases of COVID were more than 46,000 daily on average; however, only 40 people are in hospital intensive care units.
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“We continue with a strong epidemic surveillance,” Heunicke said according to the AP. “Then we…can react quickly if necessary.”
Despite lift of restrictions, Frederiksen warned there could be a rise in infections, which may lead to a fourth vaccination shot being necessary.
“It may seem strange that we want to remove restrictions given the high infection rates,” Frederiksen said. “But fewer people become seriously ill.”
Meanwhile, our press focuses its coverage on the “stealth Omicron” sub-variant.
Nearly half of U.S. states have confirmed the presence of BA.2 with at least 127 known cases nationwide as of Friday, according to a global data base that tracks Covid variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement Friday, said although BA.2 has increased in proportion to the original omicron strain in some countries, it is currently circulating at a low level in the U.S.
The subvariant is 1.5 times more transmissible than the original omicron strain, referred to by scientists as BA.1, according to Statens Serum Institut, which conducts infectious disease surveillance for Denmark.
The new sublineage doesn’t appear to further reduce the effectiveness of vaccines against symptomatic infection, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency.
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