COVID No Longer a ‘Socially Critical Disease’ in Denmark: Health Minister

EU countries to treat Omicron in less alarmist manner.

QUICK FACTS:
  • In a letter Tuesday to the Danish lawmakers, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said he wants to follow the recommendations by Parliament’s Epidemic Commission so that the “categorization of Covid-19 as a socially critical disease will be abolished as of Feb. 1,” Associated Press reports.
  • The government is ready to reverse almost all social restrictions by the end of the month, a change based on recommendations from the parliament’s epidemiology committee.
  • The “rules will lapse when the illness will no longer be categorized as ‘socially critical’ on 1 February 2022,” Heunicke clarified in the letter.
  • The country’s health authorities cited the arrival of Omicron BA.2 not causing an increase in hospitalizations, motivating the mandate relaxation.
  • The classification of a disease as “socially critical” means that the government can introduce far-reaching measures such as shutting businesses and making mask-wearing mandatory, Politico explains.
WHAT ELSE THE LETTER SAID:

The letter said, “this is a new epidemic situation in which a high and increasing infection does not to the same extent as previously translate into hospitalizations.”

BACKGROUND:
  • Denmark’s latest move echoes a wider trend in European Union (EU) countries to treat Omicron as an endemic disease, circulating freely but posing less of a threat to societies, Politico reports.
  • The government’s decision is subject to parliamentary approval.
  • Assuming the changes are approved, the only rules that will remain are those covering test and isolation on entry to Denmark, which will stay in place for another four weeks, The National reports.
  • Nightclubs can reopen and restaurants will be able to serve alcohol after 10 pm, while customers will not need to present vaccine passes upon entry.
  • Also, commuters can take public transport without having to wear a face mask.
  • Shops can lift limits on customer numbers, too.