Denmark ends virtually all COVID restrictions

By Jan. M. Olsen | Related press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Denmark led the European Union on Tuesday by removing most of its pandemic restrictions as the Scandinavian nation no longer considers COVID-19 “a serious social disease”. European nations elsewhere have taken a range of different approaches, with some relaxing the virus while others tightening them.

Officials say the reason for Denmark’s move is that although the omicron variant is on the rise in the country, it doesn’t burden the health system and Denmark has a high vaccination rate.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told Danish radio it was too early to know if virus restrictions would have to return.

“I wouldn’t dare say it’s the final goodbye to restrictions,” she said. “We don’t know what will happen in the fall, whether there will be a new variant.”

Denmark, a country of 5.8 million people, has recorded more than 50,000 new cases a day in recent weeks, but the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital intensive care units has dropped.

Several other countries are also following in the same direction as Denmark.

Last week, Britain lifted almost all restrictions in the country: masks are not required anywhere, vaccination tickets are not required in any location and people are no longer advised to work from home. . The only legal requirement is to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID.

Ireland has lifted most of its restrictions and the Netherlands is easing its lockdown as well, although bars and restaurants in the Netherlands must still close at 10pm.

France – which is still reporting the continent’s highest daily positive cases – plans to lift some restrictions on Wednesday, especially the regulation of outdoor masks in Paris, the order to work part-time. time at home and limits on crowd size. But masks are still required indoors in many public places, nightclubs are closed and eating and drinking are not allowed in cinemas, stadiums or public transport.

Finland will end its COVID-19 restrictions this month. On Monday, border controls between Finland and the other Schengen countries that constitute Europe’s no-document travel zone, ended. Travelers arriving from outside the EU will continue to face border controls at least until 14 February.

In Serbia, there are hardly any controls, so a few rules are in place – mandatory wearing of masks in enclosed spaces, tickets to bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the evening dark and only 500 people at events – doesn’t make much sense. Nightclubs have been open for a long time.

However, Italy has gradually tightened its health requirements during omicron enhancement. As of Monday, Italy requires at least a negative test within the previous 48 hours to enter banks and post offices, and anyone over the age of 50 who has not been vaccinated risks a fine of 100 euros ($112). ) once.

Austria has introduced mandatory vaccination regulations that took effect this month, and Greece has ordered fines for people aged 60 and over who refuse to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, German politicians have opened a debate about whether to impose a national mandate on vaccination.

The head of the Danish Health Service, Søren Brostrøm, told Danish broadcaster TV2 that his attention is more on the number of people in ICUs than on the number of infections. That number has been “falling and falling and getting extremely low,” he said.

The most obvious restriction that is disappearing is the wearing of masks, which is no longer mandatory on public transport and shops. Authorities only recommend the use of masks in hospitals, health care facilities and nursing homes.

Another restriction that is no longer required is a digital card for entering nightclubs or eating indoors at restaurants.

Stefano Tandmark, a waiter in Copenhagen, says bars and eateries can stay open between now and 5 a.m. “We can dance and yes, get back to being yourself and don’t worry about it corona is gone or where is it now.”

However, many Danes took a cautious approach on Monday, wearing face masks on public transport and in shops. Some note that the omicron variation has led to staff shortages.

Ulla Vestergaard, 59-year-old social care worker, said: “There are so many of our employees who are sick without restrictions being lifted, and it is going to be even worse than it is now.

https://www.sbsun.com/2022/02/01/denmark-ends-almost-all-covid-restrictions/ Denmark ends virtually all COVID restrictions

Tom Vazquez

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