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In Denmark, a serene return to life before

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Copenhagen (AFP)

No longer the shadow of a mask or a health pass, the offices have come back to life and the concerts bring together tens of thousands of fans: this Friday, Denmark turns the page entirely on restrictions aimed at fighting Covid-19.

“We are definitely at the forefront in Denmark because we no longer have any restrictions, we have moved to the other side of the pandemic thanks to the deployment of vaccination,” Ulrik Ørum-Petersen told AFP , promoter at Live Nation.

On Saturday, the show organizer is orchestrating a sold-out concert for 50,000 people, a first in Europe still weighed down by restrictions. On September 4 already, Live Nation had organized a first festival aptly baptized “return to life”, which had gathered 15,000 people in Copenhagen.

“Being in the crowd, singing like before, it almost made me forget the Covid-19 and everything we’ve been through in recent months,” said Emilie Bendix, a young woman of 26, who returned to the concert.

Introduced in March as a corollary of the reopening, the “coronapas” was no longer mandatory in nightclubs since September 1, a requirement lifted on Friday.

A crowd of people in front of a nightclub in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 3, 2021 Olafur Steinar Gestsson Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

“Our goal is free movement (…), what will therefore happen is that the virus will also circulate and that it will find those who are not vaccinated”, warned the AFP epidemiologist Lone Simonsen, professor at Roskilde University (east).

Denmark has had no trouble convincing its people of the benefits of vaccination. As a result, 73% of the 5.8 million Danes are now fully vaccinated, and 96% of those 65 and over.

“If the virus is no longer a threat to society, it is only thanks to the vaccine,” insisted Ms. Simonsen.

– Confidence –

For the European management of the WHO, one of the peculiarities of the Scandinavian country has been the relationship of trust between the authorities and the population concerning the strategy deployed.

With around 500 new daily cases and a reproduction rate of the virus of 0.7, the Danish authorities believe the epidemic is under control.

– Vigilance maintained –

The Minister of Health, Magnus Heunicke, however assured at the end of August that the government “will not hesitate to act quickly if the pandemic threatens again the essential functions of the company”.

For the authorities, this return to life before must be coupled with strict respect for hygiene measures and isolation of patients.

At WHO, the global situation remains considered critical and requires caution.

Denmark intends to closely monitor the number of hospitalizations – barely 130 so far – and carry out careful sequencing of tests to monitor the evolution of the virus. A third dose has also been offered to the most vulnerable since Thursday.

“Until now, the variants have respected the immunity offered by the vaccine, but if other variants with immune escape (resistance to the vaccine) appear, we will have to rethink our strategy,” noted Ms. Simonsen.

For Christian Nedergaard, restaurateur in the Danish capital, at a time when we are celebrating the return to a normal life, “the situation remains complex”.

“The memory of the coronavirus will disappear very quickly from some minds but stay in others and for the restoration, it is sure that this period has changed the situation. The sector must think about how to become more resilient”, a- he advanced.

Entry into Denmark remains subject to presentation of a health passport and / or a negative test, and wearing a mask is compulsory at airports.

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