Updated with news from Austria – Denmark is to scrap all remaining domestic covid-19 restrictions next week, following on from similar announcements in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands in the past week despite high numbers of Omicron infections in Europe.
In a letter to parliament, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said the government intends to follow recommendations issued by an expert panel on Tuesday to scrap all restrictions by 1 February 2022.
The government’s decision, which is subject to parliamentary approval, will be the most far-reaching easing of curbs seen among the Nordic countries.
Nightclubs can reopen and restaurants will be able to serve alcohol after 10 pm; customers won’t need to present vaccine passes upon entry. Commuters can take the bus without having to wear a face mask and shops can lift limits on customer numbers.
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.
Health authorities there estimate that between 30%-40% of those currently in hospital with a positive coronavirus test are there for other reasons than covid-19.
Meanwhile, in Austria – which had come down hard on the unvaccinated – announced Wednesday that its lockdown for people not fully vaccinated against coronavirus will end on Monday 31 January 2022 because the pressure on its hospitals has eased, the government said.
New daily coronavirus infections in Austria are rising, driven by the Omicron variant. They hit a new record above 30,000 on Wednesday, Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein told a news conference, adding they would peak in the next two weeks at around 35,000 to 40,000.