Denmark Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions “In Only A Few Days, Denmark Will Be Open, Completely Open”
Denmark has announced plans to lift virtually all COVID-19 restrictions and allow the country to go back to living life as normal.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Wednesday that starting Feb. 1, Danes will be free to go to restaurants, museums, clubs, and other indoor facilities without wearing masks. The government will continue to recommend that masks be worn in hospitals, health care facilities, and care facilities for the elderly such as nursing homes.
“In only a few days, Denmark will be open again, completely open,” Frederiksen said. “Denmark will end all virus restrictions.” The country will no longer categorize COVID-19 as a “socially critical disease.”
Currently, masks are required to be worn on public transportation, inside restaurants, and other indoor businesses like shops, as well as in health care facilities. But Frederiksen said the time has come to move on to post-COVID life by returning to pre-pandemic norms.
“We say goodbye to the restrictions and welcome the life we knew before,” she said. “As of Feb. 1, Denmark will be open.”
Denmark has seen a major surge in COVID-19 cases during the Omicron wave, but not an equivalent surge in deaths. Frederiksen said the wave isn’t putting high stress on the health care system, as the vast majority of cases are mild and the country has a high vaccination rate.
“It may seem strange that we want to remove restrictions given the high infection rates,” she said. “But fewer people become seriously ill.”
Only 40 people in the entire country of nearly 6 million are in hospital ICU units, according to Health Minister Magnus Heunicke.
Denmark was one of the first countries in Europe to close public schools and send government employees home in 2020. Now, it’s among the first to return to normalcy after orchestrating one of the west’s most successful pandemic responses.
The Danish death rate is below the global average and is one of the lowest in Europe. By comparison, it is more than seven times lower than Europe’s highest, Bulgaria, less than one-third of France and the United Kingdom, and less than one-quarter of the United States. Denmark also has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with 87% of the population fully vaccinated, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data.