Welcome to Denmark, where the Covid is “over”
No wonder many Britons are still worried about Covid. More than 41,000 positive tests for the virus were reported in the UK on Monday September 6. There was talk of a “firewall” halfway through – a partial lockdown, perhaps. Schools operate with twice-weekly testing, air conditioning, and a myriad of hand gel stations. The debate over who to vaccinate next rages on: should this be a third booster vaccine for the elderly or do we want 12-15 year olds to line up? Meanwhile, the University of Cambridge estimates that only 30% of the population has been infected so far. It’s worrying.
Well, I’m worried about you – but here in Denmark, a few hundred miles away, we’re not that confused. In fact, for the Danes, the Covid is officially over, over and dusted off, to take. On Friday, September 10, the country will lift all of its last Covid restrictions, with the government saying the virus “is no longer a critical threat to society”, thanks to the vaccination of 72% of the population (the UK is at 62%). “The epidemic is under control,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke announced last week, acknowledging that the government’s right to impose special powers linked to Covid was coming to an end.
Denmark, which on March 11, 2020 was the first northern European country to introduce lockdown restrictions, is now pioneering their removal.
And in doing so, the Land of Lego could teach the rest of the world how to rebuild normalcy – even if the Danes don’t claim to have conquered disease, just to have found a way to live with it.
Their return to pre-pandemic life has been in the works for a few months, with the Danish government arguing that with around 95% of vulnerable people, nursing home residents and citizens over the age of 60 fully immunized, the country could tolerate more infection rate.
In a Covid update last month, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the vaccine “the super weapon to beat them all.”
“Everyday life is thankfully back in most places,” said Frederiksen, “and we clearly expect to be able to avoid major bottlenecks in the future. “