One month after first restrictions eased, what is status of Covid-19 pandemic in Denmark?

Denmark first announced at the end of February that it would begin to gradually lift its winter Covid-19 lockdown.

One month after first restrictions eased, what is status of Covid-19 pandemic in Denmark?
Inside a Covid-19 testing facility in Copenhagen. photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Since then, restrictions on sectors of society including schools and retail have been partially lifted on two occasions, and the government has also announced a plan for a longer-term reopening of society.

Under that plan, which was announced last week, the country hopes to be able to have lifted the majority of all Covid-19 restrictions by the end of May. That is contingent on the current vaccination plan holding – this would see all over 50s vaccinated (should they wish to be) by that time.

IN DETAIL: The coronavirus restrictions Denmark plans to lift, and when they will be lifted

When the first, tentative easing of restrictions was agreed in late February, the government said the decision was taken in accordance with recommendations submitted by an expert group to the Ministry of Health.

Mathematical modelling used by the group worked on a worst-case scenario in which around 870 people would be hospitalised with the virus by mid-April should its recommendations for reopening be followed.

The number is considered to be close to the threshold of the health system’s ability to efficiently cope with patients with the virus.

Tuesday saw the number of Covid-19 inpatients in Danish hospitals increase for the third consecutive day. The figure now stands at 226. Although it dropped under 200 earlier this month, it remains significantly lower than the 870 cited as a possible figure for mid-April.

The most recent daily update includes 722 confirmed cases of the virus amongst 158,909 PCR tests, giving a test positivity rate of 0.45 percent.

Recent weeks have seen a modest increase in the proportion of positive tests, with the positivity rate moving from under 0.3 to over 0.4.

That indicates a mild increase in the epidemic in Denmark, according to Viggo Andreasen, a professor in mathematical epidemiology at Roskilde University.

“This confirms the picture we have has in recent weeks that there is a mild increase in the pandemic,” Andreasen told news wire Ritzau.

“That is a combination of the English [B117, ed.] variant becoming dominant – and it is more infectious and spreads more easily – and the reopenings we have gone through,” he elaborated.

The expert said that, should the upcoming Easter period see an acceleration in the pandemic, there may be cause to reconsider the plan for the later stages of reopening. A new round of restrictions are scheduled to be lifted after Easter, on April 6th. Andreasen does not expect any change to the plans for that date, however, Ritzau writes.

“Increasing infections combined with a lot of uncertainty regarding what Easter will bring make it interesting to see how the infection numbers will look after Easter,” he said.

“As I see it, it could be easy to get into a situation where we have to cancel the next reopening,” he added.

The reproduction rate or R-number for the coronavirus in Denmark is currently 1.1. This means that 10 people with the virus will pass it on to 11 others, causing the epidemic to increase. The figure was also calculated at 1.1 last week.

“The epidemic is still in weak growth,” health minister Magnus Heunicke tweeted.

“Fast and effective local lockdowns are the key to keeping the epidemic in control while we gradually reopen,” he continued, adding a call for people in Denmark to “stick to the good habits” to restrict infections over Easter.

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EXPLAINED: Has Italy still got any Covid rules in place?

Italy is blissfully free of Covid restrictions this summer - or is it? Here's what you need to know about the country's few remaining rules.

EXPLAINED: Has Italy still got any Covid rules in place?

If you thought Italy’s Covid rules ought to have more or less expired by now, you’d be right – almost. 

There are essentially no travel restrictions, no vaccination or testing obligations, and very few situations in which people are required to mask up.

However, a few nationwide health rules do remain in place that are worth knowing about.

Here’s what they are.


One notable exception to Italy’s Covid rule relaxations is the continued requirement to wear a mask in parts of health and residential care facilities that house vulnerable or immunosuppressed patients.

This rule had been due to expire on April 30th, but was renewed by decree on April 29th and will remain in place until the end of the year.

READ ALSO: What to expect when travelling to Italy in summer 2023

That means if you work in such a facility or need to visit a friend or family member there, you should come equipped with a mask.

Under-6’s, people whose disability prevents them from wearing a mask, and carers for whom wearing a mask would prevent them from communicating with a disabled patient are the only exceptions.


Then there are the quarantine rules.

‘Italy still has quarantine rules?!’ you ask incredulously.

According to former health director Giovanni Rezza, who retired this May, the answer is yes.

It was Rezza who signed off on a health ministry decree dated December 31st, 2022 that established the country’s latest quarantine restrictions.

Tourists visiting Italy no longer face Covid-related restrictions, though rules may apply in some circumstances. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

That decree says that those who test positive but are asymptomatic must self-isolate for five days, or until they test negative at a pharmacy or health facility – whichever happens sooner.

Those who do experience symptoms should either test negative before exiting quarantine, or wait until they are symptomless for at least two days.

At the end of the isolation period, those who have left quarantine without taking a test are required to wear a high-grade FFP2 mask in public until the tenth day since the onset of symptoms or first positive test result.

READ ALSO: What are the upcoming strikes in Italy and how could they impact you?

People who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for Covid should wear an FFP2 mask in public until the fifth day since the last point of contact.

Earlier this month, Rezza told journalists at the national broadcaster Rai that since no expiration date was stipulated, the decree remains in force indefinitely.

The health ministry doesn’t appear to have weighed in on the matter, so for now it should be assumed that the quarantine rules are still active.

Of course, this all relies on the honour system, as most Covid tests these days are taken (if at all) in people’s own homes without the knowledge or involvement of state health authorities.


Finally, there have been some recent reports of new international travel restrictions specifically relating to China.

There has been talk of Italy’s airports reintroducing tests for arrivals from China. Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP.

Towards the end of May, newspapers La Stampa and La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno reported that Covid tests had been reintroduced at Italy’s airports for arrivals from China, which has seen an uptick in cases.

However, neither the health ministry website nor the Foreign Ministry’s Viaggiare Sicuri (‘Travel Safe’) website appear to have published any updates to this effect.

In December 2022, Italy’s health ministry mandated that all arrivals from China must produce a recent negative test result before leaving for Italy and to take a test on arrival, though this rule was due to expire at the end of January.