There is no longer cause to class Covid-19 as being “dangerous to public health” or an alment farlig sygdom, the Danish Health Authority said in a statement.
Under Denmark’s Epidemic Law, the government can introduce certain public restrictions in response to illnesses considered a danger to public health. These include asking individuals to isolate or sharing personal information between different authorities.
This will no longer be valid when the classification expires from April 1st.
Danish Health Authority director Søren Brostrøm said the decision reflected that “the disease no longer presents a significant threat to society”.
That does not mean Covid-19 has gone away completely, he also said.
“There will still be a need to protect against serious illness with Covid-19. From now on, that will be alongside other infectious diseases like influenza,” he said.
The new rating comes as the extent of serious disease caused by Covid-19 has fallen significantly compared to earlier stages of the epidemic, according to the Danish Health Authority.
High vaccination rates are part of the reason serious illness with the disease has become limited, Brostrøm said.
The Epidemic Law sets out three categories for diseases: critical threat to society (samfundskritisk sygdom), dangerous to public health (alment farlig sygdom) and infectious diseases (smitsomme sygdomme).
Until January 31st 2022, Covid-19 was given the first and most severe of those three ratings (it was also briefly downgraded in autumn 2021).
A disease is considered a “critical threat” when it threatens the functions of society as a whole, by for instance, overwhelming the health system. In such instances, the government has the farthest-reaching options for intervention, including bans on people gathering, closure of schools, health passes, and mandating use of face masks, provided this is not opposed by a majority in parliament’s representative epidemic committee (epidemiudvalg).
The Health Authority can change the categorisation again at a later date, for example if a new variant emerges and worsens the situation with the virus.
However, the decision to rate a disease as a critical threat to society rest with the Ministry of Health.