Denmark travel latest: Government plans to enforce arrival quarantine

Authorities in Denmark could soon issue fines or other penalties to people who do not comply with quarantine requirements after travelling to the country.

Denmark travel latest: Government plans to enforce arrival quarantine
File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Enforcement of the existing measure is being considered due to concerns about the spread of more infectious forms of Covid-19 to the country.

“We want you to go into isolation for 10 days if you have been travelling abroad and come home. If you don’t (isolate) there will be an option to issue a fine or other punishment,” justice minister Nick Hækkerup told broadcaster DR.

The government is therefore backing calls from the Conservative and Socialist People’s (SF) parties to enforce quarantine for returning travellers.

Discussions will take place with other parties to sound out the possibility of voting the measure through parliament.

Under current guidelines, international arrivals in Denmark are asked to take a rapid Covid-19 test on entry and to isolate for 10 days, but this is a recommendation and not a requirement.

The 10-day period of isolation can be cut short if a PCR test taken after four days returns a negative result.

Denmark also currently requires all passengers boarding flights to the country to produce a negative Covid-19 test taken within the last 24 hours prior to departure.

The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), which an interest organisation for Danish businesses, said it was “completely behind the motivations” for the proposal, but was concerned about the potential implications for business travel.

“What we are particularly keeping an eye on is the length of any new quarantine requirement. If it is ten days, we will probably think that’s too much – unless there is a medical reasons for this,” DI Transport director Michael Svane told news wire Ritzau.

READ ALSO: Sweden extends ban on travel from UK and Denmark with new exemptions

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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.”