Norway likely to advise against travel to Danish regions after Covid-19 outbreak

An increase in coronavirus cases, including in Denmark’s second-largest city Aarhus, is likely to result in neighbouring Norway upscaling its travel guidelines.

Norway likely to advise against travel to Danish regions after Covid-19 outbreak
Face masks are currently obligatory on public transport in Aarhus. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Norway is likely to class Denmark’s Central Jutland (Midtjylland) and the Zealand region (which does not include Copenhagen) as a ‘red’ area when it next updates official travel guidelines.

That comes after the Norwegian health authority NIPH on Monday recommended the change to the country’s government.

Norwegians will be thereby advised against travelling to Central Jutland and Zealand and people arriving in Norway from the regions will be asked to quarantine for 10 days.

NIPH confirmed the recommendations in a statement via its website.

Central Jutland currently has an infection rate over the threshold for Norway’s ‘red’ travel advisory. This is primarily due to an outbreak in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city.

Aarhus contributed 40 of the 76 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Denmark on Monday, following 78 cases (out of 128 nationwide) from Saturday to Sunday and 79 (out of 169) the previous day.

The Zealand town of Ringsted has contributed a large number of cases to increasing infection numbers in that region, after an abattoir in the town was forced to close temporarily following an outbreak amongst employees.

Capital city Copenhagen, which is part of a separate Hovedstaden (Capital) region for healthcare administration, would not be encompassed by a travel advisory against the Zealand region.


The Norwegian Institute for Public Health (NIPH) regularly updates its list of EEA and Schengen area countries which meet and do not meet the country's criteria for safe travel. Health authorities base their recommendations on figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the EU agency monitoring the data.


Once a country is ‘red', the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel that is not strictly necessary to that country, and self-quarantine is required for travellers returning or arriving from it. This also means people cannot travel from 'red' countries to Norway for tourism.

For fellow Nordic countries, Norway's health authorities judge on a regional basis, so parts of a country can be rated 'green' if the rate of new coronavirus infections is less than 20 cases per 100,000 people, meaning Norwegian residents can travel there even if the rate for the country as a whole qualifies it as ‘red'.

This is already applicable to Sweden. The Swedish regions of Kalmar, Värmland, Örebro, Östergötland, Blekinge, Dalarna, Södermanland, Uppsala and Västerbotten are currently ‘green' while the rest of the country is ‘red'.

Denmark’s Central Jutland (Midtjylland) and Zealand regions are likely to be given the ‘red’ designation by the foreign ministry later this week, when the official travel guidelines are updated.

The infections figure for Central Jutland is currently 42.3 per 100,000 residents and for Zealand 26.5 per 100,000 residents.

In addition to the two Danish regions, NIPH has also recommended that the Norwegian government change Swedish regions Östergötland, Blekinge, Dalarna, Värmland, Örebro and Uppsala to red.

Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the Netherlands, Poland, Malta and Cyprus are also all included in the Norwegian health authority’s latest recommendations for ‘red’ countries.


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IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.”