Copenhagen equates Covid with other respiratory diseases and says goodbye to swabs and isolation, trusting the common sense of citizens. In Denmark, it was decided last Thursday to put an end to the protocols that have slowed down or stopped citizens’ activities for more than two years: the National Board of Health (Sst) in Copenhagen has in fact decreed that the coronavirus must now be equated with other diseases, and no longer recommends self-isolation in the event of a positive test. No more swabs, quarantines, isolations, just common sense: ‘If you are sick, you should stay at home, regardless of whether it is Covid, influenza or another respiratory infection,’ said the Danish Health Authority. ‘We can now move towards a situation of normality with regard to the management of Covid, both in society and in health care,’ said Line Raahauge Hvass, acting head of unit at the Sst agency, clarifying that ‘there is no longer a need for specific guidelines against Covid with regard to other diseases, nor for people with a positive swab to isolate themselves for at least four days’. The decision follows other very clear-cut stances taken in Copenhagen, such as no longer recommending vaccination booster shots for the under-50s (those who want to get them will have to pay for them out of their own pocket) or vaccination for minors, because the extension of the vaccination programme to children is now considered unnecessary: ‘In retrospect, we have not achieved much,’ Soren Brostrom, director general of the Danish Health Authority, said back in June. In Denmark, emergency hospital admissions no longer have to be swabbed, regardless of symptoms. The Sst also advises expectant mothers not to take special precautions to prevent infection, in spite of those gynaecologists who consider it ‘desirable’ to wear a face mask during labour and delivery (in Denmark, this is now only recommended for health personnel, and only if the pregnant woman or her partner show symptoms of respiratory tract infection). The change of pace in Denmark takes place despite the fact that there is a relatively high number of people admitted with Covid in hospitals, also in view of the winter season: contagions are increasing, in other words, and yet protocols are being relaxed. There remains, as there should be, the recommendation to protect the elderly and frail, for whom even a trivial flu can cause complications, as was the case even before Covid. The trend, however, is not only Danish: also in Finland, for instance, people only stay at home if they get sick, and do-it-yourself swabs are accepted. ‘Those who test positive are rarely placed in quarantine or official isolation,’ the guidelines state. The same applies in Sweden, where isolation is now a distant memory.
Covid-19, Denmark, Finland, Health, Society, Sweden