First EU country lifts COVID-related restrictions despite surge in cases

First EU country lifts COVID-related restrictions despite surge in cases
# 01 February 2022 10:35 (UTC +04:00)

Denmark becomes the first country in the European Union to scrap all coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, 1 February, APA reports citing Sputnik.

Despite facing about 40,000-50,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, the Scandinavian country has stopped viewing the virus as a socially-critical disease, and is pinning hopes on its high vaccination rate in the fight against the Omicron strain and its now-dominant subvariant, BA.2.

Nightclubs will reopen Tuesday as limits on the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings also come to an end. Only some restrictions will remain in effect at the country's borders for unvaccinated travellers arriving from non-Schengen countries.

The Danish Health Authority now "recommends" those who test positive for coronavirus to self-isolate for four days. Contact cases, however, no longer require quarantine.

The "incredibly good news" about abandoning the restrictions was announced by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen last week, following recommendations from the Epidemic Commission and with the support of all the nation's main political parties.

"Tonight we can...find the smile again. We have incredibly good news, we can now remove the last coronavirus restrictions in Denmark. Recent weeks have seen very high infection rates, in fact the highest in the entire pandemic. Therefore, it may seem strange and paradoxical that we are now ready to let go of the restrictions", Frederiksen said at a press conference at the end of January, clarifying that the last restrictions will be dropped on 1 February.

Prime Minister Frederiksen said she did not expect to have to impose fresh restrictions but remained cautiously optimistic. "We can't provide any guarantees when it comes to biology", she said, announcing the country's return "to life as we knew it before corona".

The country's Health Minister Magnus Heunicke explained that "the situation in Denmark is that we have this decoupling between infections and intensive care patients, and it is mainly due to the large attachment among Danes to revaccination. That is the reason why it is safe and the right thing to do now".