New Danish agency will test up to 20,000 people a day for coronavirus

Denmark has launched a new national testing organisation which it hopes will soon be able to test up to 20,000 people a day for coronavirus infections across the country's five regions.

New Danish agency will test up to 20,000 people a day for coronavirus
One of the white tents outside Vejlby-Risskov Hallen in Aarhus. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix
“We have worked hard to increase the test capacity since the coronavirus began to spread in Denmark. Now we have built up capacity, and we must fully utilize it,” said Health Minister Magnus Heunicke in a press statement announcing the new organisation. 
TestCenter Danmark — a joint venture between the national government, regional governments, and the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo-Nordisk — will test both those with symptoms for active Covid-19 infections and those without for the antibodies which indicate that someone has already had the virus. 
The testing will take place in the five large white tents already erected in each of Denmark's five regions, which the government said would increase in number as the program is built out. 
“In this way we can ensure timely treatment of citizens infected with COVID-19. And we can follow the development of the infection in the community, and use that knowledge actively when we gradually reopen Denmark,” Heunicke added. 
As well as the tests carried out by TestCenter Danmark, the coutnry's health authorities also plan to massively increase testing so that they can carry out up to 12,000 tests a day on citizens with even mild coronavirus symptoms, all patients admitted to hospitals for any reason, and later on to all employees working in the health and elderly care sectors. 
According to the press release, Denmark's infectious diseases agency SSI will operate the tents, that have been built with the help of a 250 million Danish kroner ($36) grant from the Novo-Nordisk Foundation, which has already funded a range of coronavirus initiatives
Novo Nordisk has also contributed staff and technology for establishing and conducting the tests.
Lars Rebien Sørensen, the chairman of the foundation, said the centres would “create greater security and security for the individual and the people with whom they are socializing, and it can support the gradual reopening of society.”

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Covid-19: Denmark halves test capacity due to low infection numbers

Denmark is to cut its Covid-19 testing capacity due to low demand at municipal PCR test centres.

Covid-19: Denmark halves test capacity due to low infection numbers

The daily number of PCR tests at local centres will therefore be reduced from 40,000 to 20,000, the Agency for Critical Supplies (Styrelsen for Forsyningssikkerhed) confirmed in a statement on Monday.

Some test centres are expected to close due to the reduced operations.

“The downscaling is expected to result in a further reduction in the number of test locations, while opening times will be adjusted in the country’s test centres,” the agency said in the statement.

“These adjustments will take place on an ongoing basis,” it added.

Recent months have seen Covid-19 infections receding in Denmark after the winter wave, which was driven by the Omicron variant of the virus.

Health authorities have credited a high level of immunity in the community, due to previous infections, and a high vaccination rate including booster vaccinations, in reducing the spread of the coronavirus throughout the spring.

Covid-19 is also known to be transmitted less during warmer seasons.

The lower number of cases is linked to the reduced demand for testing in Denmark. Last week saw an average of around 5,000 tests administered daily.

The government is expected later this year to present a Covid-19 testing strategy for late 2022 and next winter.

Denmark lifted the majority of its Covid-19 restrictions in February, with final travel restrictions ending in March.

Health authorities now only recommend taking a PCR test for Covid-19 if you have symptoms and are at risk of serious illness should you contract the virus.

Testing is no longer recommended for close contacts of people who have the virus or are suspected to have it.

READ ALSO: Denmark says Covid-19 testing now only needed for ‘special medical reasons’