No masks, no restrictions, big events: Denmark returns to ‘normal’ life after controlling Covid | World

On the streets there are no longer any traces of masks or sanitary passes, offices are back in operation and shows gather tens of thousands of spectators. Denmark says goodbye this Friday (10) to virtually all anti-covid e restrictions returns serenely to the life of before.

In this “old-new” life, it is allowed to organize events for 50 thousand people, without the need to present a vaccination certificate or a negative covid test, something quite unusual in Europe, with numerous restrictions still in force.

“We are definitely at the forefront because we don’t have restrictions anymore,” Ulrik Ørum-Petersen, promoter of the show Live Nation, which will take place on Saturday (11), told AFP agency.

On September 4, his company had already organized a festival called “Return to Life”, which brought together 15,000 people in Copenhagen.

“Being in the middle of it, singing like before, almost made me forget about Covid-19 and everything I’ve experienced in recent months,” said Emilie Bendix, a 26-year-old who attended the show at the time.

Thanks to high vaccination rates, 73% among its 5.8 million people, Denmark has almost completely suspended since September 1 the requirement for the anti-covid pass established in March.

This Friday, its obligation in nightclubs, the only sector in which it was still in force, will also be withdrawn.

“Our goal is freedom of movement (…), what will happen is that the virus will also circulate and find those who are not vaccinated”, warned epidemiologist Lone Simonsen.

Confidence in strategy

But Denmark can count on the trust established in the country between health authorities and the population, recently highlighted by the European direction of the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Like many countries, Denmark, during the pandemic, implemented public health or social measures to reduce transmission,” said Catherine Smallwood, WHO’s Emergency Situations Officer in Europe.

“But at the same time, it had broad support from individuals and communities who accepted the government’s advice,” he said.

Now, with around 500 cases a day and a virus reproduction rate of 0.7, Danish authorities consider the epidemic under control.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke assured at the end of August that the government “will not hesitate to act quickly if the pandemic threatens again the essential functions of society”.

In the meantime, authorities must closely monitor the number of hospitalizations and carefully sequence virus samples to monitor their progress.

In addition, since Thursday, they are offering the most vulnerable groups a third dose of the vaccine.

For Christian Nedergaard, owner of a restaurant in the capital, the return to normal life does not hide that “the situation remains complex”.

“The memory of the coronavirus will disappear very quickly in some minds, but it will remain in others. For restaurants, it is clear that this period has changed the rules, the industry will have to reflect to be more resilient,” he said.

Although life in Denmark is back to normal, to enter this Scandinavian country it will still be mandatory to present a health passport or a negative test.