Denmark on the verge of returning to pre-Covid normality


Denmark will reopen almost completely on Friday and phase out the use of its national coronavirus passport and even face masks over the summer, as it aims to be one of the first European countries to fully return to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Danish political parties agreed on Tuesday that public sector workplaces, universities, sports and music clubs, zoos, theme parks and saunas will reopen from Friday. Only nightclubs will remain closed, according to an opposition leader.

EU countries were gradually lift coronavirus restrictions this week in hopes that speeding up vaccination programs will allow a faster return to normal life – although epidemiologists have warned that the change could come too soon and that progress could be reversed.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said Denmark was “in a very favorable position” in the pandemic despite a slight increase in recent cases of Covid-19, and that its mass testing capabilities and the possibility of lockdowns premises allowed him to continue with more reopening.

The Scandinavian country’s coronavirus passport, which was crucial in the early stages of the reopening, will be phased out from June for everything except travel abroad, visitors to libraries and sports clubs in from Friday not needing to show the document.

Face masks will be gone by August at the latest, according to the cross-party agreement, with a full plan to be unveiled next month.

A store clerk in Aalborg. Denmark’s vaccination rate is slightly above the EU average © Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

While many European countries have a phased reopening plan in place, Greece and parts of Spain, like the capital Madrid, are already almost fully open. In Switzerland, where the vaccination rate is lower than EU averages, most restrictions on what is allowed to open will be lifted at the end of the month.

Denmark’s vaccination rate is slightly above the EU average, but well behind that of the UK, Malta, Hungary and Iceland. All adults should be fully immunized by the end of August.

Soren Riis Paludan, professor of biomedicine at Aarhus University, said health experts in Denmark were divided over how quickly the reopening was to take place. Still, he added that, with all over 70s vaccinated and a low death rate, “this reopening makes sense. . . Overall, I think we will see an increase in the number of people infected, but little increase in hospitalizations or deaths ”.

Starting Friday, 20 percent of workers – mostly in the public sector – will be able to return to the office; half can return from June 14 and everyone from August 1. All higher education and higher education students will be able to resume physical education from Friday.

Denmark has made more intensive use of its “coronapas” than any other European country to open cafes, restaurants and museums. But center-right opposition politicians have increasingly pushed aside the need to check passports on every visit.

Tuesday’s deal extends passport use to people who had their first stroke more than two weeks ago, not just those fully vaccinated and those whose test result is negative in the past 72 hours.

The Scandinavian country has tested more than 10% of its population on certain days as part of its efforts to reopen.



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