Why is Denmark so negative about Sweden?

Corona crisis - The Danes are the new Swedes: Their recipe for success against the virus could also work in Switzerland

The Danes are the new Swedes: their recipe for success against the virus could also work in Switzerland

The contagion curve in the Nordic country has been flat for a month.

While corona infections are rising steeply in most European countries, the Danish curve has been flat for a month. In the seven-day average, there was even a dent down recently. The country with its five million inhabitants did not impose any new restrictions.

Few restrictions apply. Bars and restaurants have to close at 10 p.m., masks are required on public transport, but only there. In addition, there is a meeting limit of 50 people - except for events with a seated audience: 500 people are still allowed to come together.

Otherwise, society is open and, according to the authorities, the situation is under control. The contact tracing works, local outbreaks can be quickly contained.

The government is based on the Swedish model and relies almost exclusively on recommendations: hygiene, distance, voluntary home office and reduced social contacts. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday that these voluntary recommendations are the “super weapon” in the fight against Covid-19.

Fast free tests for everyone as a guarantee of success

And Denmark has a second “super weapon” against the virus: testing. In a comparison of the larger European countries, Denmark is clearly at the top in terms of the number of tests per inhabitant: Most recently it was three times as many as in Switzerland.

The positive rate is 1.3 percent (compared to 17.7 in Switzerland). The tests are carried out free of charge in specially established centers and can be booked online, regardless of whether you have symptoms or not. Contact with a doctor is not necessary. Have a quick test before visiting your grandparents? No problem!

The quick tests also make quarantine measures almost unnecessary: ​​Close contacts of a person who tested positive have to have the test and usually receive the result within 24 hours. If this is negative, no further quarantine is necessary. Only when entering from risk areas do the Danes still have to be in isolation. However, this is not controlled, one relies on trust.

Bold suggestion: massively increase the tests again

Despite the good location, the warning lights have recently started to flash in Denmark as well. After a few days with a slightly increased number of cases, several epidemiologists are now calling for measures that have been known in other countries for a long time: expanded mask requirements and lower meeting limits. However, the Danish government is still waiting for the time being.

Meanwhile, the economic wise men, an advisory body to the government, have spoken out with a bold alternative proposal: The number of tests should be increased many times over, from 360,000 today to 2.9 million tests per week. This would allow the entire population to be tested every other week.

That would be enormously expensive, but it would make contact tracing even more efficient. The economy and society could easily be kept going.