Denmark’s high vaccination rate has enabled it to become one of the first EU countries to lift all domestic restrictions, after 548 days with curbs in place to limit the spread of Covid-19, the country no longer considers COVID-19 “a socially critical disease.”
The return to normality has been gradual, but as of Friday, the digital pass – proof of having been vaccinated – is no longer required when entering nightclubs, making it the last virus safeguard to fall.
More than 80% of people above the age of 12 in the Scandinavian country have had the two shots, leading the Danish government to declare as of midnight it no longer considers Covid-19 a “socially critical” disease.
“I wouldn’t say it is too early. We have opened the door but we have also said that we can close it if needed,” Søren Riis Paludan, a professor of virology at Aarhus University in Denmark’s second-largest city, said.
The tipping point in Denmark to start easing restrictions came when a majority in the 50+ age group had both shots, Riis Paludan said.
Since 14 August, mask-wearing on public transport has not been mandatory. On 1 September, nightclubs reopened, limits on public gatherings were removed and it was no longer mandatory to show the pass to sit inside restaurants, go to sports matches, gyms or the hairdresser.
However, the wearing of face coverings is still mandatory at airports and people are advised to wear one when at the doctor, test centres or hospitals. Distancing is still recommended and strict entry restrictions still apply for non-Danes at the borders. The outbreak is still considered “an ordinary dangerous illness”.
Health minister Magnus Heunicke said last month that “the epidemic is under control” but warned: “We are not out of the epidemic” and the government will act as needed if necessary.
Jens Lundgren, a professor of viral diseases at the Copenhagen University Hospital, said the government would be “quite willing” to reintroduce restrictions if infections spike again.