Denmark lifts COVID restrictions despite Omicron surge
Danish officials lifted most of the country's pandemic-related restrictions on Tuesday, as the country no longer considers COVID-19 to be a "socially critical disease," AP reports.
Why it matters: The move highlights the divergent approaches European countries are taking as the Omicron variant continues to drive caseloads upward for many.
What they're saying: “From Feb. 1, in only a few days, Denmark will be open again, completely open," Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a press conference Wednesday.
- “The pandemic is still here but with what we know, we now dare to believe that we are through the critical phase,” she added.
- “I dare not say that it is a final goodbye to restrictions,” she told Danish radio, per AP. “We do not know what will happen in the fall, whether there will be a new variant.”
State of play: Virus cases in Denmark have been surging during the Omicron wave, but hospitalizations and deaths have remained stable, according to Deutsche Welle.
- More than 60% of people in Denmark have received three coronavirus vaccine doses, higher than the E.U. average of 45%, per DW.
The big picture: Denmark's Nordic neighbor, Sweden, announced last week that it would extend its current health restrictions by another two weeks.
- Austria's vaccine mandate, considered the strictest in the E.U., is expected to enter into force on Feb. 4.
- Last month, the U.K. said it intends to lift its travel testing requirements for the fully vaccinated. Last week England moved to ease most of its domestic restrictions, such as mandatory masking.
- France is continuing to report Europe’s highest daily number of positive cases, but intends to lift some restrictions on Wednesday.