Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Denmark lifts all COVID-19 restrictions as vaccinations top 70%

Scandinavian country no longer considers coronavirus ‘socially critical’ disease

Atila Altuntas   | 10.09.2021
Denmark lifts all COVID-19 restrictions as vaccinations top 70%

STOCKHOLM

After 548 days of curbs to contain the spread of COVID-19, Denmark on Friday lifted all domestic restrictions, removing the categorization of the disease as "critical threat to society."

The EU country's inoculation drive has gone swiftly, with over 73% of the 5.8 million population fully vaccinated.

In a Facebook post, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said coronavirus "is no longer a socially critical disease." "Good Friday to all. Let's enjoy life. And take good care of each other," he said.

On Aug. 27, the government had decided not to extend the existing restrictions beyond Sept. 10 due to "high vaccine uptake" and "strong epidemic control."

"Although we are in a good place now, we have not reached the end of the epidemic," Heunicke had said.

"Therefore, the government will not hesitate to act quickly if the pandemic once again threatens critical functions in our society."

This means the requirement for vaccine passports, which were introduced in March to enter nightclubs and discos, has also ended. They were abolished at all venues on Sept. 1.

Masks, however, are still mandatory at airports and people are advised to wear them at testing centers or hospitals.

Michael Bang Petersen, a professor of political science and adviser to the government on COVID-19, said the basis for open societies is vaccinations and Denmark “has had higher acceptance than many comparable countries.”

This is because of “trust in the authorities' management of the pandemic,” he said on Twitter.

“Will the lifting of restrictions go well? Who knows … New variants may emerge & restrictions reappear. Yet, from a behavioral perspective, I am optimistic about the future. Even with a 3rd wave, mutual trust should be high enough to pull thru.”

*Writing by Merve Berker and Waleed Tariq

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