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Denmark advises against travel to France due to increase in coronavirus cases

The Danish foreign ministry is now advising against all non-essential travel to France and Croatia, which in recent weeks have seen increasing numbers of Covid-19 infections.

Denmark advises against travel to France due to increase in coronavirus cases
Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

The decision was confirmed by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday afternoon.

One of the Danish criteria for designating a country ‘open' for travel is that the number of current coronavirus infections in the last week must be below 20 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Once a country is open, the critical limit for when travel advisories are tightened again is set at 30 cases of infection per 100,000 residents, measured over the past week.

France and Croatia are now both over this limit with figures at around 33 and 34 cases per 100,000 residents respectively, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the EU agency monitoring the data.

The travel advisories are not legally binding and it is therefore not illegal not to follow them, but the Danish foreign ministry advises people who travel to France after August 27th to stay at home for 14 days after returning to Denmark.

Danes and Danish residents currently in France can stay in the country until the end of their holiday, according to the updated travel advice on the Danish foreign ministry website. In such cases, the ministry advises getting a test for Covid-19 on returning to Denmark but does not ask travellers to home quarantine.

The same guidelines apply to Croatia.

Both countries are popular destinations for Danish tourists.

“A lot of holidays to Croatia have been going on, so it means a lot for the travel industry side, because we organise a lot of trips there,” Lars Thykier, CEO of the Danish Travel Agency Association, said to Ritzau.

“France is a little different because travel there takes a varying number of forms. It is more than just holiday travel, so it means a lot that (France) will now be a closed country,” Thykier added.

In addition to the number of new cases, health authorities also base recommendations on the number of tests a country is conducting and the proportion of tests which return positive. A maximum of five percent of those tested may test positive.

Danish authorities are no longer advising against travel to Bulgaria, reversing its ‘closed’ status of the past four weeks.

Once a country has been ‘closed’ for travel, one of the criteria for designating a country ‘open' again is that the number of coronavirus infections must be below 20 per 100,000 inhabitants during the last seven days.

Although Bulgaria has been below that number since last week, the country does not meet Denmark's criteria for testing. However, Danish authorities have applied a safety margin where the number of infections in the country is multiplied by 1.5.

The purpose of this is take into account that there may be more infected people in the country than official figures show.

Bulgaria's number of infected people has fallen further in the past week to around 12 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the ECDC.

That number is significantly low for travel advisories against Bulgaria to be dropped even though it fails to meet testing criteria.

Denmark opened its borders for travel to the majority of EU and Schengen countries, along with the United Kingdom, in July after previously closing its borders at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

READ ALSO: Denmark advises against travel to Spain and postpones part of re-opening

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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