Denmark is lifting on Tuesday, nearly all the restrictions authorities had imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, despite a high incidence rate in the country.
Danes will no longer be required to wear face masks or present COVID-19 health passes indicating proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test result.
Large events will once again be permitted, and nightclubs can pack the dance floor.
When Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the easing of restrictions on February 1, she said, “We are ready to step out of the shadow of the coronavirus. We say ‘goodbye’ to restrictions and ‘welcome’ to the life we knew before.”
COVID-19 is no longer classified as “socially critical” in Denmark which permitted the government to impose restrictions. Polls suggest that the move is supported widely by the Danish public.
Last September, Denmark attempted a similar loosening of restrictions, but the government was forced to reimpose restrictions gradually as new infection numbers rose.
In the last week, Denmark has counted between 33,000 and 47,000 new cases daily with the surge brought on by the omicron variant. But critically, hospital cases and deaths have been stable, while patient numbers in intensive care units have been falling.
The country’s high vaccination rate has been credited for the absence of an overwhelming number of hospitalized patients with new infection numbers as high as they are. More than 60% of people in Denmark have received three doses of the vaccine, whereas the EU average is at 45%.
Only visitors to Denmark will still be required to present proof of vaccination. Hospitals and nursing homes are being advised to keep certain restrictions, like face masks and the checking of vaccine passes.
In Germany, health officials at the Robert Koch Institute reported 162,613 new infections in the last 24 hours and 188 deaths. The seven-day incidence hit a new record, at 1,206.2 cases per 100,000 people per week.
However, the death and hospitalization rates remain stable even as the caseload continues to rise.