COPENHAGEN — Denmark’s high vaccination rate has enabled the Scandinavian country to become one of the first European Union nations to lift all domestic restrictions.
The return to normality has been gradual, but as of Friday, the digital pass — a proof of having been vaccinated — is no longer required when entering nightclubs, the last virus safeguard to fall.
In Denmark a digital go – used as proof to indicate somebody has been vaccinated – is no longer required when getting into restaurants or nightclubs.
More than 80% of people above age 12 have had the two shots and 96 percent of those 65 and older fully vaccinated. As of midnight, the Danish government no longer considers COVID-19 “a socially critical disease.”
Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said last month that “the epidemic is under control” but warned: “we are not out of the epidemic” and the government will act as needed if necessary.
Denmark has become the only European country with no coronavirus-related restrictions in place, as vaccine rates have reached more than 70 percent of the population.
The return to normality has been gradual, but as of Friday, the digital pass – proof of having been vaccinated – is no longer required when entering nightclubs, making it the last COVID-19 safeguard to fall.
“It’s been a rough couple of years. I have three kids and we have had homeschooling and it’s been a lot of hard days,” resident Klaus Sylvester said.
“It’s quite liberating that Denmark no longer has restrictions.”
Denmark introduced COVID-19 passports in March 2021 as part of a gradual easing of rules.
On August 1, it lifted the COVID pass requirement at museums and indoor events with fewer than 500 people, before ditching it for major events, while masks have not been required on public transport since mid-August.
On Saturday, a sold-out concert in the capital, Copenhagen, will welcome 50,000 people, a first in Europe.
Danish authorities insist the virus is under control, with about 500 daily cases and a reproduction rate of 0.7.
People sit outside a restaurant for outdoor service in Roskilde, Denmark, on April 21, 2021. CLAUS BECH
However, optimism was tempered on Friday as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) director for Europe warned that vaccines were not likely to end the pandemic for good.
Instead, jabs will help prevent serious disease and death, though the virus is likely to be around for years to come as it mutates, Hans Kluge told reporters in Copenhagen.
“We should anticipate how to gradually adapt our vaccination strategy to endemic transmission and gather really precious knowledge about the impact of additional jabs.”
Denmark made third doses available to vulnerable groups as of Thursday, and Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said vaccines played an important role in helping the country return to normal. But he struck a cautious note.
“Daily life is basically back to normal, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any danger down the road,” Heunicke said on Friday.
“The virus has mutated several times, so I can’t make any guarantees. But with this many people vaccinated, we are well set,” he told Danish television TV2.
Christian Nedergaard, who owns several restaurants in Copenhagen, said that while everyone is happy about the return to normal life, “the situation is still complicated”.
“The memory of coronavirus will fade very quickly from some people’s minds but not for everyone, and for restaurants this period has for sure been a game changer,” he said.
US anti-vaccine protesters hold signs. Now in the US Covid-19 is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Nearly 80 million Americans are not vaccinated.
US Experiences a Slump in Vaccination Rates
In the United Stats the fight against Covid is weakened by the growing vaccine gap in the south, while in Europe many nations have a disparately higher vaccination rate.
US President Joe Biden’s push to require millions of U.S. workers to vaccinate against the coronavirus is running into a wall of resistance from Republicans threatening everything from lawsuits to civil disobedience, plunging the country deeper into culture wars that have festered since the onset of the pandemic.
Meanwhile the COVID-19 is on track to become the U.S.’s leading cause of death again.