Denmark lifts UK entry ban but extends all other Covid-19 travel restrictions until April

Restrictions on travel in and out of Denmark have been extended up to and including April 5th, while travellers from the United Kingdom will no longer be subject to heightened restrictions, the Danish foreign ministry has confirmed.

Denmark lifts UK entry ban but extends all other Covid-19 travel restrictions until April
Copenhagen Airport on February 1st. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

In a statement, the ministry confirmed the extension of travel restrictions in light of Wednesday’s announcement that some domestic restrictions will be lifted in March.

“Under the mutual agreement for the next steps towards a gradual and responsible reopening of Denmark, the increased travel restrictions (originally) announced on January 8th will be extended,” the ministry wrote.

The current travel extensions, which had been due to expire at the end of February, will therefore remain in place until April 5th.

“Ongoing restriction of travel activity is an important element in the efforts to control infection spread while mutations of coronavirus are occurring in several countries,” the ministry wrote in the statement.

The extended restrictions mean that negative Covid-19 tests no more than 24 hours old are required to board flights to the country or cross land borders. An exception applies for individuals who have been infected with Covid-19 between the last 2-8 weeks (and can document this).

Non-residents of Denmark are required to fulfil a ‘valid reason’ criterion for entering the country, while non-Danes who live in South Africa are essentially banned from entering Denmark altogether.

READ ALSO: Denmark bans travel from South Africa over new virus variant

More detail on these rules including on valid reasons for entry can be found here.

A rule essentially banning residents of the United Kingdom from entering Denmark, similar to the restriction on travel from South Africa, has been lifted.

“The United Kingdom is given equal status with all other countries in the world with the exception of South Africa, which is still subject to tight rules and restrictions on travel in and out (of Denmark),” the ministry wrote.

Special rules on travel from regions bordering Denmark apply. These rules were themselves tightened last week.

The extension of the restrictions also means the continuation of foreign ministry guidelines placing the entire world at the ‘red’ alert level, meaning the ministry is advising against all foreign travel (not just non-essential travel). As such, business travel is not exempted from the advisory, although there are some exemptions, such as for transport of goods and some services.

“The infection situation around Europe and in the rest of the world is still very serious. Therefore, the time is not right to ease up on the tight restrictions on travel in and out of Denmark,” foreign minister Jeppe Kofod said in the statement.

“An Easter holiday abroad is unfortunately not an option. We must hold out for a while yet,” he added.

Current Danish entry restrictions require people arriving in the country from abroad to be tested for Covid-19 within 24 hours of arrival and to quarantine for 10 days. The isolation period can be shortened by showing a negative coronavirus test on the fourth day at the earliest after entering Denmark.

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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.”