- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2022

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has decided to lead the way in managing COVID-19 and getting back to normal, announcing all virus restrictions will be dropped as of Feb. 1.

“We say goodbye to the restrictions and welcome the life we knew before,” Ms. Frederiksen said. “As of Feb. 1, Denmark will be open.”

Masks no longer will be required in places like public transportation, restaurants and shops, though they should be worn in hospitals, health care facilities and homes for the elderly.

The shift is part of a European push to treat COVID-19 as an endemic disease and manage it in the background of society. Wide swaths of the continent have been infected by the omicron variant, and 7 in 10 persons in the European Union are fully vaccinated.

Denmark has an even higher vaccination rate of 81%, according to the Our World in Data website.

Denmark’s health minister said the country is seeing 46,000 daily cases per day, on average, but only 40 people are in hospital ICU units, according to The Associated Press.

“It may seem strange that we want to remove restrictions given the high infection rates,” Ms. Frederiksen said. “But fewer people become seriously ill.”

Reuters reported that Finland will drop its COVID-19 restrictions in mid-February, while some countries are relying on heavy mandates to lift vaccine uptake. Austria will make the shots mandatory in February, and Italy and Greece have required vaccination for older persons.

President Biden’s attempts to mandate vaccines through federal regulations have run into roadblocks, but some companies are requiring the shots on their own.

States and cities are employing a patchwork of rules across the country. Many Republican leaders are moving to relax mask rules in schools, while New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, fights to preserve her mask mandate in court amid the omicron surge.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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