All Danes Can Be Tested for COVID-19

The huge COVID-19 test centre in Copenhagen — one of five in the country

While Denmark has done an excellent job tackling the COVID-19 crisis and is now opening up and returning to normal, all Danes are being offered a COVID test to see if you have it — or have had it.

Yesterday, I logged on to the website for the tests. I had been randomly selected by the health authorities. In under three minutes, I had selected a time slot for the next day — today — and it was as easy as booking a table at a restaurant.

On the website it says:

Virus Test: You can book a virus test if your doctor or employer has sent you or if you’ve been selected at random. In the course of the week, all adult Danes will have the opportunity to book a virus test. Many people want to be tested so there might be a waiting period. New time slots are constantly added, so you can come back later and check.

Antibody Test: At the moment you only book a time for an antibody test if you’ve been selected by the authorities at random or if you’re participating in a research project. You’ll be notified by digital post if you’ve been selected.

Here’s the website if you live in Denmark:

I rode my bike ten minutes to the test centre — one of five in the nation. I know that in other parts of the country, many people are far from one of them, but it’s convenient in the capital. There are two sections: one for testing to see if you have COVID-19 and another to see if you have already had it without knowing.

I parked my bike at the entrance where a friendly, young soldier asked if I’d had any symptoms in the past 48 hours and then sent me in to the military-style tent labyrinth. I waited in line a bit and then was waved over by the medical personnel. The young woman scanned my health card and I was told to stand on a red X on the floor. Her colleague swabbed my throat — yuck — and then said I could log in to the national health portal in 72 hours to check my results.

Some of the medical staff had full protective gear on, others just had a mask, gloves and the kind of glasses I use when shooting fireworks at new years. The soldier was wearing a facemask, as well, but nobody else. Like in the rest of the Nordic and Baltic states, facemasks were never recommended by the authorities so you never see them anywhere.

I was in and out in ten minutes and it was a totally chill vibe. I cracked jokes with the two young women at my test station. They sent me on my way with a cheery “have a good weekend!”.

There’s a drive-in option as well, for those who live in the suburbs. I wish I had ordered that option when booking the appointment and rode through on my bike. Someone else try it! You can read more about the Danish health system -and life in Denmark in this article: Lap Dansk — an unexpected life in Denmark.

Now it’s time to ride down to my local wine bar, where life has returned to normal, and raise a glass to Danish efficiency and the Nordic model.

Urban playmaker, designer, host of The Life-Sized City tv series about urbanism. Author of “Copenhagenize”. Impatient Idealist.

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