Mette Frederiksen, prime minister of one of the world’s most vaccinated countries, said Denmark will not extend any of its pandemic measures beyond Jan. 31.
“The pandemic is still here but with what we know, we now dare to believe that we are through the critical phase,” said Frederiksen, who called this development in her country “a milestone.”
“We say goodbye to the restrictions and welcome the life we knew before,” she continued. “As of Feb. 1, Denmark will be open.”
According to Danish Minister of Health Magnus Heunicke, the country is recording more than 46,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, but very few people are hospitalized, and even fewer are in intensive care units.
“We continue with a strong epidemic surveillance,” said Heunicke. “Then we … can react quickly if necessary.”
“It may seem strange that we want to remove restrictions given the high infection rates,” said Frederiksen. “But fewer people become seriously ill.”
“The situation in Denmark is that we have this decoupling between infections and intensive care patients,” said Heunicke. “That is the reason why it is safe [to roll back restrictions] and the right thing to do now.”
Life will fully return to normal by February
Denmark started the process of loosening restrictions in mid-January after a month-long lockdown.
When the lockdown ended, concert venues and cinemas were allowed to reopen and some other restrictions were loosened, but they remained. Limited hours for restaurants, mandatory masking and proof of COVID-19 vaccination were still required in most public spaces.
Starting Feb. 1, nightclubs will be allowed to operate again and restaurants will be allowed to remain open past 10 p.m. Customers of either venue will no longer be required to present proof of vaccination upon entry.
Commuters taking buses will no longer need to wear masks, and capacity limits placed on shops will be lifted.
The only restrictions that will remain are COVID-19 testing and isolation requirements for people entering the country. This requirement will remain in place until March.
In making this momentous move, Denmark follows in the footsteps of Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. (Related: Lifting of Britain’s COVID-19 restrictions could be part of giant PSYOP to gain back people’s trust.)
But the three other aforementioned countries are keeping some COVID-19 measures in place. Denmark, on the other hand, is scrapping all of its domestic restrictions entirely.
England was the first country to announce a loosening of restrictions, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing an end to the mask mandate as part of the nation’s return to “Plan A” measures.
Ireland followed, with Prime Minister Micheal Martin announcing an end to the nation’s system of vaccine passports.
England and Ireland were followed by Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.
Most of Europe is also putting in place plans to roll back most COVID-19 restrictions. Norway is planning to gradually get rid of restrictions since the country’s public health authorities have accepted that only “extreme” measures can deal with the omicron variant.
Even France and Austria, which have been putting extreme pressure on the unvaccinated to take the vaccines, have begun relaxing some of its regulations.
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