Denmark has lifted the latest of its coronavirus restrictions, effectively declaring that the virus was no longer a “critical threat to society” and allowing the country to return to a semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy.
“This can only be done because we have come a long way with the launch of vaccination, we have strong control of the epidemic and because the entire Danish population has made an enormous effort to get here,” said Magnus Heunicke, Denmark’s health minister, on a declaration on Friday about the lifting of restrictions.
The Danish government announced late last month which would allow the restrictions to expire and noted Denmark’s high vaccination rates. As of Saturday, about 76 percent of the nation’s population had received a dose of a vaccine and 73 percent had been fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
While the rules lifted on Friday allow Danes to go more freely about their lives, foreign travelers will remain subject to some restrictions, including submitting a negative coronavirus test on arrival or possibly even isolation for 10 days, depending on where they came from.
The Danish government had been gradually easing its coronavirus restrictions for weeks, including lifting a public transport mask mandate in mid-August. But the rules lifted this week included the expiration of the coronavirus passport requirement you had to enter places like nightclubs.
Mr Heunicke said the Danish government would continue to monitor the pandemic and would be “ready to act quickly” if the situation worsened.
Denmark was one of the worst affected countries in Scandinavia, although northern Sweden, which avoided the hard blockades, was far worse. But the cases have fallen on both, and Sweden hopes to loosen most of its restrictions from the end of the month.
By contrast, Norway, which like Finland had kept cases low for most of the pandemic, is experiencing its worst outbreak to date. However, deaths remain low thanks to Norway’s high vaccination rates – 74 percent of the population received at least one injection and 64 percent are fully vaccinated.