Covid live news: Denmark lifts all restrictions despite record cases; Liz Truss tests positive before planned Ukraine visit

Denmark will on Tuesday becomes the first European Union country to lift all of its Covid restrictions despite record numbers of cases, relying on its high vaccination rate to cope with the milder Omicron variant.

After a first attempt at lifting all its restrictions between September and November, the Scandinavian country is once again ditching its facemasks, Covid passes and limited opening hours for bars and restaurants, AFP reports.

“I’m so happy that this is all going to be over tomorrow. It’s good for life in the city, for nightlife, just to be able to be out longer”, 17-year-old student Thea Skovgaard told AFP the day before the lifting.

Nightclubs reopen on Tuesday, when limits on the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings also come to an end.

Denmark’s prime minister Mette Frederiksen said last week that the country would return ‘to life as we knew it before corona’. Photograph: Ritzau Scanpix/Reuters

Only a few restrictions remain in place at the country’s borders, for unvaccinated travellers arriving from non-Schengen countries.

The easing comes as Denmark registers around 40,000-50,000 new Covid cases a day, or almost one% of the country’s 5.8 million inhabitants.

“We have an extremely high coverage of adults vaccinated with three doses,” epidemiologist Lone Simonsen of the University of Roskilde told AFP.

More than 60% of Danes have received a third dose – one month ahead of health authorities’ schedule – compared to an EU average of just under 45%.

Including those who have recently had Covid, health authorities estimate that 80% of the population are protected against severe forms of the disease.

“With Omicron not being a severe disease for the vaccinated, we believe it is reasonable to lift restrictions”, Simonsen said.

The broad spread of the Omicron variant is also expected to lead to a “more robust and long-lasting immunity”, helping the country fend off future waves, she said.

Two years after the outbreak of Covid-19, the Danish strategy enjoys broad support at home.

In a poll published Monday by daily Politiken, 64% of Danes surveyed said they had faith in the government’s Covid policy.

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