Nordic Country Declares Covid-19 No Longer 'Socially Critical Disease,' Drops All Restrictions

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Posted: Jan 27, 2022 7:00 AM
Nordic Country Declares Covid-19 No Longer 'Socially Critical Disease,' Drops All Restrictions

Source: AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

As some countries double down on punishing the unvaccinated and continue with draconian Covid-19 restrictions, Denmark has taken the opposite approach, announcing Wednesday that all safety measures will be lifted next week.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the Nordic country is reclassifying Covid-19; it will no longer be considered a “socially critical disease.” 

“Tonight we can shrug our shoulders and find the smile again. We have incredibly good news, we can now remove the last coronavirus restrictions in Denmark,” Frederiksen said at a press conference.

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.[…]

The government's decision, which is subject to parliamentary approval, will be the most far-reaching easing of curbs seen among the Nordic countries.

Nightclubs can reopen and restaurants will be able to serve alcohol after 10 pm; customers won't need to present vaccine passes upon entry. Commuters can take the bus without having to wear a face mask and shops can lift limits on customer numbers.

If the changes are approved, the only rules that will remain are those covering test and isolation on entry to Denmark, which will stay in place for another four weeks. (Reuters)

Frederiksen acknowledged that the decision may seem unusual as Omicron infections are spiking in the country, with 46,000 new Covid cases reported on Wednesday.

“Recent weeks have seen very high infection rates, in fact the highest in the entire pandemic,” she noted. “Therefore, it may seem strange and paradoxical that we are now ready to let go of the restrictions.” 

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke pointed to high rates of vaccination and fewer hospitalizations as the reasons officials have taken this approach. 

“The situation in Denmark is that we have this decoupling between infections and intensive care patients, and it is mainly due to the large attachment among Danes to revaccination. That is the reason why it is safe and the right thing to do now,” Heunicke said.

The UK, Ireland and the Netherlands have all taken a similar approach.