‘Welcome the life we knew before’
The latest country to announce it is eliminating most of its COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, including mask mandates, is Denmark.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Wednesday that beginning Feb. 1, mask restrictions on public transportation, in restaurants, in shops and other indoor facilities will be lifted, the Associated Press reported.
“We say goodbye to the restrictions and welcome the life we knew before,” Frederiksen said. “As of Feb. 1, Denmark will be open.”
Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said that while the European nation recently has had 46,000 new cases daily on average, only 40 people are in hospital intensive care units.
“We continue with a strong epidemic surveillance,” Heunicke said, according to the AP. “Then we … can react quickly if necessary.”
Frederiksen acknowledged it “may seem strange that we want to remove restrictions given the high infection rates.”
“But fewer people become seriously ill,” he explained.
Last week, after the models upon which he based his policies proved to be “wildly incorrect,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lifting of COVID-19 vaccine passports, mask mandates and work-from-home guidance in England.
Regarding masks, the prime minister said the basic policy will be to “trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalize anyone who chooses not to wear one.”
Ireland last Saturday eliminated nearly all COVID restrictions. The Netherlands has relaxed some restrictions as of Wednesday, Forbes reported. And Sweden, Norway and Finland announced this week they likely will ease restrictions in the coming days and weeks.
In France last Thursday, Le Monde reported Prime Minister Jean Castex announced a timetable for dispensing with some COVID restrictions. Among them are the mandatory wearing of masks in outdoor locations and the closing of nightclubs and stadiums. The prime minister said the government could suspend its vaccine passports if the situation regarding the pandemic improves further.
Ingvild Kjerkol, Norway’s health minister, told TV2 that the Scandinavian nation can “tolerate more cases now, so then it is natural to look at easing restrictions, and that is what we are doing .”
“This means we can live with a higher infection rate in society without the health system blowing up,” she said.
Meanwhile, Austria on Feb. 1 will become the first nation in the world to make it illegal to be unvaccinated. The government has ordered bars, cafes and restaurants to close at 11 p.m. And workers are advised to work from home when possible, the Associated Press reported.
ABC News reported Austrian police will begin doing routine checks of vaccination status and issue fines of up to 600 euros ($685) to people who cannot produce proof of vaccination. Pregnant women, those who can’t receive the vaccine due to medical reasons and those who recovered from the virus in the last six months are exempted.
WND spoke recently with an Austrian activist who is helping lead a growing resistance to the severe COVID-related restrictions in his country.