Denmark has become the first country in the European Union (EU) to lift all domestic Covid-19 restrictions. Despite having a relatively high number of cases, the Ministry of Health has announced that the virus no longer poses a “critical threat” to society.
It is no longer necessary to wear a mask indoors, self-isolate after testing positive, or use a Covid pass to enter bars, restaurants or other venues. Having said that, Denmark ranks the second highest globally for daily new confirmed cases. This has led some to question their actions.
The reasoning behind the decision is the high vaccination count in the country. Around 81% of the population is fully vaccinated, and over 60% have received their third dose. As a result, the hospitalisation rates are decreasing daily, with less admissions into intensive care. Additionally, since the Omicron variant is not considered to be a severe threat to the vaccinated, experts assert that it was a reasonable decision to lift the restrictions.
This is not the first time Denmark has attempted to lift restrictions. In September 2021, the authorities attempted to reduce restrictions, but were required to tighten them again following climbing infection rates.
When questioned about the longevity of the decision, Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told CNN that “we promised the citizens of Denmark that we would only have restrictions if they are truly necessary, and we will lift them as soon as we can.” Under the current circumstances the authorities see no need to impose restrictions, unless a new and more deadly variant emerges.
The removal of regulations appears to have been well received and largely undisputed by the public, with a large number of citizens eager to move on. One of whom is Henrik Parker, who told the BBC that he was ready to accept that “corona will just be part of the society.”
Many have expressed the fact that this relative return to reality would not have been possible without the high number of vaccination rates.
However, under a set of exceptional circumstances, the Danish authorities will continue to implement restrictions. Particularly for unvaccinated travellers wishing to visit the country from outside the EU or Schengen zone, as well as those who intend to enter Denmark from high risk countries.