Denmark will re-introduce COVID-19-related restrictions after a rise in cases, said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Monday, coming less than two months after ditching the rules.
Frederiksen cited the Danish Epidemic Commission’s recommendation that the government classifies COVID-19 as a “socially threatening disease” for reimplementing restrictions, telling journalists: “The government will follow this recommendation.”
About 86 percent of people aged 12 or older are fully vaccinated in Denmark. Despite that, authorities said last week hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed due to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Critics of vaccine mandates have said that because COVID-19 vaccines cannot entirely prevent the transmission of the virus to others, such requirements are not necessary and will create unnecessary economic and social hardship.
In a Sunday Facebook post, Frederiksen claimed that COVID-19 is spreading from unvaccinated people to elderly people and at-risk people who have been vaccinated, although she did not provide evidence for her assertion. Health authorities will “soon” advise the Danish government on new measures, she added.
“The health authorities were expecting more people to be infected (by COVID) and hospitalized, but the things have gone faster than expected,” Frederiksen also told reporters Monday.
Among those restrictions, the government may mandate that certain businesses require customers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering, she said.
“You can live with the corona-pass,” Frederiksen said, referring to the vaccine passport. It will be re-imposed on bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and similar venues.
The pass shows whether an individual has been vaccinated, has recently recovered from the virus, or has had a recent negative test. Opposition parties include the Conservative Party, the Danish People’s Party, and Venstre oppose the passport, but the governing left-wing coalition is in favor of it.
And Eskild Petersen, a prominent infectious diseases professor at Aarhus University, said during public remarks that the country needs to reimpose a mask mandate.
“If we are to avoid closures of schools and the rest of society, we need to get ahead of things, and it is proven that both corona-pass and face masks work against infection spread,” he said last week.
The number of new coronavirus cases was higher than 2,000 again Monday, for the fifth day running. Medical staff members are treating 26 people in intensive care.
Out of a population of about 5.8 million, some 2,745 people have died of COVID-19 to date, according to health officials.