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COVID-19

When will Denmark stop requiring corona passports and face masks?

A new political agreement to ease Denmark’s Covid-19 restrictions has pledged a roadmap for the phasing out of face masks and corona passports.

When will Denmark stop requiring corona passports and face masks?
Denmark has pledged to end face mask requirements once its population has been vaccinated. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Face masks have been mandatory to varying extents in Denmark since August last year, when they became compulsory on public transport. They were later extended to stores and other indoor public areas.

Corona passports were introduced as the winter lockdown was eased in April. They are currently required to access a range of businesses including indoor service at cafes and restaurants; hairdressers and sports facilities.

A parliamentary majority agreed early on Tuesday to allow almost all indoor businesses in Denmark, with the exception of nightclubs, to open from this Friday. Education including universities can also return at normal capacity. Corona passports remain a requirement.

A text outlining the agreement was published by the Ministry of Justice.

The plan also includes provisions to phase out working from home, face masks and corona passports in the longer term.

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Rules requiring the use of face masks and corona passports will be revoked when all people over 16 in Denmark have been offered vaccination, several party leaders confirmed following Monday night’s talks.

“We will follow to the letter the agreement to phase out the corona passport. It is unfair for people to have to renew their corona passport all the time,” said Liberal party leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen.

A concrete plan for ending mandatory face mask use will be presented in June, but Tuesday’s agreement specifies that masks will no longer be required when all people over 16 in Denmark have been offered vaccination – at the end of August according to the current schedule.

The corona passport certifies that the holder has had a negative test in the last 72 hours, a vaccination or has recently recovered from Covid-19, conferring immunity to the disease.

It will also see the first steps towards ending its use in June, according to the agreement. But rules for the documentation are set to be eased slightly as early as May 21st.

On that date, the passports must no longer be shown to access libraries or sports taking place under the auspices of associations. You will still need a corona passport for these things, however, as spot checks will be conducted.

Additionally, a single dose of a Covid-19 vaccination will now be sufficient for a corona passport to be issued. Previously, both doses were required. The corona passport will become valid 14 days after the first dose of the vaccine has been received.

That decision means as many as 660,000 fewer people will be required to get tested regularly because they have had at least one dose of the vaccine two weeks ago or more, broadcaster DR reported based on calculations of the number of first-time vaccinated people.

The national infectious disease agency, SSI, approved the decision, DR writes.

Corona passports linked to first vaccine doses will only be temporary, however. That is to ensure people continue to come back for their second dose of the vaccine. The period of validity is yet to be set by health authorities and it is also currently unclear when the new rule will come into effect.

A return to offices and shared workspaces is to occur in three steps. In the first phase, which begins on Friday, 20 percent capacity will be allowed while remaining staff must continue to work from home where possible. The proportion will increase to 50 percent on June 14th and 100 percent on August 1st.

The public assembly limit is scheduled to increase on Friday from 25 to 50 persons indoors and from 75 to 100 persons outdoors. That is in keeping with the previous plan for reopening.

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COVID-19 RULES

Italy cuts Covid isolation period as infection rate falls further

The isolation period for symptomatic Covid cases will be cut from seven days to five as Italy’s epidemiological situation improved again, according to an update from the health ministry on Wednesday.

Italy cuts Covid isolation period as infection rate falls further

The Italian health ministry signed off on a new set of Covid isolation rules on Wednesday after months of speculation about whether the isolation period in place all summer could be scrapped.

Under the update, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and shows symptoms must immediately self-isolate for five days instead of the previous seven, and must test negative – via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test – at the end of that period, as well as being asymptomatic for two days.

READ ALSO: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

Should the patient continue to test positive, they must remain in isolation until they get a negative test result. The maximum length of the isolation period was however cut to 14 days, down from 21.

Testing should be carried out at a registered pharmacy or testing centre. The results of home tests are not seen as valid for this purpose.

The isolation requirement applies to everyone including those who are fully vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid.

The changes came in a circular signed on Wednesday by the health ministry’s director of prevention, Gianni Rezza.

The circular, published on Thursday morning, said the rules had been relaxed “as a result of the cessation of the state of emergency” and based on health data analysis by Italy’s Higher Health Institute on August 24th.

The infection rate in Italy has been falling since mid-July.

The number of new infections recorded over the previous 24 hours on Wednesday was 21,817, with a test positivity rate of 13 percent.

Politicians from several parties criticised the decision to keep isolation rules in place, claiming this could affect voter turnout at elections on September 25th.

Italy’s outgoing health minister, Roberto Speranza, said this wasn’t an issue: “Just as with the last elections, there is the option of voting from home, as is done for the infirm,” he told news agency Ansa.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative on arrival, as long as they are fully boosted, were recently vaccinated, or have recently recovered from Covid.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

For more information about Italy’s Covid health regulations, see the health ministry’s website.

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