| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

Coronavirus digest: Denmark fully lifts COVID-19 restrictions

On Saturday, Copenhagen will host a sold-out concert for 50,000 people, a first in Europe since the pandemic began, and stadiums will be back to full capacity as the soccer season begins.

Starting today, Friday, all pandemic-related curbs in Denmark have been lifted. Mask mandates for inside public spaces and transport and limits on audience numbers for sporting events and concerts had already been nixed on September 1. Now, the last remaining restriction, the need to present a vaccine certificate to enter nightclubs or major social events like football matches, is no more.

Denmark has a vaccination rate of 74.3% and a virus reproduction rate of only 0.7.

World Health Organization commission led by former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti called for wide-ranging reforms to European health systems due to the global pandemic. It said the world was unprepared despite repeated warnings.

The commission, operating from the WHO’s European regional bureau, which encompasses 53 countries including the EU’s 27-nation bloc as well as Russia and Turkey, recommended comprehensive reforms based on the “One Health” concept, or the idea of the interconnected nature of the health of humans, animals, plants and the environment. Additionally, the WHO said inequities must be confronted and greater investment was needed in health systems.

In Germany, the CEO of the Mainz-based BioNTech, Ozlem Tureci, told Der Spiegel magazine in an article published Friday that the company, which jointly developed a COVID-19 vaccine with US-based Pfizer, will apply for the vaccine’s authorization from “authorities worldwide” for use in children aged 5-11 following the results of a study.