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Denmark seeks to loosen restrictions as hospitalizations decline with Omicron

A sign requested visitors to wear masks at Torvehallerne food market in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. Denmark, a country of 5.8 million people, surpassed 1 million infected citizens in total as the Omicron variant accelerated the spread of the virus.Carsten Snejbjerg/Bloomberg

Denmark wants to end virus restrictions and reclassify COVID-19 as a disease that no longer poses a threat to society, according to government documents seen by Bloomberg News.

The change is coming as the Nordic country registers record numbers of daily virus infections while hospitalizations are declining, indicating that Omicron is less dangerous than earlier variants of the virus.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke will follow a recommendation by the country’s epidemic commission not to extend any restrictions beyond Jan. 31, according to the documents. He wants to downgrade the classification of the disease from Feb. 1, four days earlier than proposed by the commission, the documents said. The decision was first reported by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.


Denmark, a country of 5.8 million people, has registered more than 1.5 million infections during the two-year pandemic, of which 1 million have come in the last two months alone. The nation that’s managed the economic impact of COVID as one of the best in the rich world has 44 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in intensive care units, down from 73 two weeks ago.

Current restrictions include limited opening hours for restaurants and bars, use of COVID passports and the requirement of face masks in stores and at some indoor events.

Denmark will still have restrictions for travelers, with requirements for tests and possible isolation in place for at least four weeks after Feb. 1, if the government gets backing from parliament, the documents said.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will hold a press conference Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Copenhagen, where she is expected to unveil the government plans to end the lockdowns.