Denmark demands negative Covid-19 test at border from family members and foreign workers

Denmark now requires people from specified countries to produce a negative Covid-19 test on entering Denmark for work or family reasons.

Denmark demands negative Covid-19 test at border from family members and foreign workers
The Danish border at Rødby in March. Photo:Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

A new rule in response to increasing coronavirus infections in Denmark means that people entering the country in order to work or visit family are likely to have to present a negative Covid-19 test at the border.

The rule states that everyone entering Denmark from countries classified as 'high-risk' must produce a recent negative Covid-19 test.

People who live in countries to which Denmark advises against travel are already required to provide a so-called 'worthy' (anerkendelsesværdigt) reason for entering Denmark. This can include work or family reasons but not tourism. Detailed guidance can be found on the Danish police website

Now, arrivals from the EU and the Schengen area as well as the United Kingdom must also present proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before entry, if they are coming from a 'high-risk' country.

The test requirement also applies to people from outside of the EU, Schengen and UK unless they are currently exempted. Check if your country is exempted here.

People who live permanently and Denmark and Danish citizens are not subject to the rule.

The new restrictions will in their first few days be enforced with discretion allowing time for people to comply with the rules, the National Police said in a statement.

The Ministry of Employment has said the decision was in response to “increased spread of (Covid-19) infection and local outbreaks”.

In a statement, the ministry wrote that, during the last week, 172 coronavirus cases in people from Poland were detected by State Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease agency. That comprised 5.2 percent of the all cases detected in Denmark during the period.

The cases “coincide with” Danish Patient Safety Authority information showing localised outbreaks traced to workplaces including construction sites and abattoirs at which EU migrant workers are commonly employed.

Due to this, migrant workforce from “high-risk countries” will be required to produce a negative coronavirus test in order to enter Denmark for the purpose of working, the ministry said. The test must have been taken less than 72 hours before travelling to Denmark.

The same requirement now applies to anyone entering Denmark from a 'high risk' country on the basis of a 'worthy purpose'.


For EU and Schengen ares countries plus the UK, 'high-risk' is defined in line with EU recommendations  to coordinate measures affecting free movement adopted on October 13th. All ‘grey’ and ‘red’ countries are considered high-risk.

The list of countries can be checked via the Danish police website

Exemptions will apply for commuters who cross the border daily as well as for goods transport workers such as lorry drivers, so as not to disrupt supply lines.

People resident in border regions (all of Norway, in Schleswig-Holstein in Germany and in Skåne, Halland or Blekinge in Sweden) are also exempted. The remaining parts of Germany and Sweden are also not considered high risk as of October 26th, according to the National Police.

People in transit are still able to travel through Denmark and are not encompassed by the requirement, regardless of place of residence and means of transport.

Additionally, the government is working on a rule enabling employers to require employees to produce a test after arriving in Denmark. A new law must be passed if bosses are to be given the authority to demand to see a Covid test and its result, the ministry writes.    

Other initiatives include increased mobile test stations at relevant work locations and increased Covid-19 related inspections of working and lodging conditions amongst foreign workforces, the statement adds.

“We must do what we can to prevent corona from spreading,” employment minister Peter Hummelgaard said via the ministry statement.

“We have to do this to turn around the serious development in infections we have unfortunately seen in this country and also in many countries around us. We are therefore introducing a number of requirements for foreign workforces,” Hummelgaard continued.

“We need to get on top of this virus which unfortunately is far from defeated,” he also said.

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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.”