Danish government to propose ending Covid-19 travel restrictions for vaccinated persons

The government wants to allow Danes and foreign nationals who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to be allowed to travel in and out of the country without being subject to quarantine or testing rules.

Danish government to propose ending Covid-19 travel restrictions for vaccinated persons
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Foreign-based partners of people who live in Denmark could also be subject to more lenient travel rules, even if not vaccinated, under new rules drafted by the government.

The eased restrictions would apply to persons from “yellow” countries in the EU and Schengen area, including tourists, according to a draft proposal seen by news wire Ritzau.

A “yellow” country signifies one considered to have an acceptable incidence of Covid-19 variants for travel and a new model outlined in the proposal. “Orange” and “red” countries would have higher incidences, with “red” countries described as having “concerning variants of Covid-19”, according to the draft.

The rule change would be subject to it being considered safe at the time of its implementation. Travellers would be required to provide documentation of having been vaccinated.

The draft is subject to change during negotiations between the government and the other parties, whose backing would be needed to pass it.

But the Liberal party, the main party in opposition, has said it wants to provide for international travel to resume as soon as possible.

“We want everyone who is vaccinated to be able to leave the country right now and go on holiday,” the party’s foreign policy spokesperson Michael Aastrup Jensen said.

The draft proposal also includes a provision for easier business travel, with business travellers allowed to return to workplaces after travel without having to isolate first. That would come into effect on April 21st.

This date would also see the list of so-called “worthy reasons” (anerkendelsesværdige formål) for travel extended, potentially allowing international students, partners of people resident in Denmark and owners of summer houses to enter the country more easily.

Current travel restrictions expire on April 20th, meaning a deal for new or extended restrictions must be agreed by that date.

The draft also envisages an EU-wide “corona passport” facilitating travel within the bloc by June 26th.

READ ALSO: EU vaccine chief hopes for tourism boost as he unveils Covid-19 passport prototype

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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.”