Denmark allows quarantine-free travel to additional EU regions

Tourists from Denmark can from Saturday travel to Bulgaria, Poland and parts of several other countries without being required to quarantine on their return home, according to new Danish foreign ministry guidelines.

Denmark allows quarantine-free travel to additional EU regions
Denmark on Friday eased restrictions on travel to Bulgaria, Poland and parts of several other countries. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s guidelines for foreign travel are updated weekly by the ministry, which designates countries or regions as yellow, orange, or red, depending on criteria related to the situation with the Covid-19 pandemic locally.

Bulgaria and Poland were on Friday ‘made yellow’, which means the Danish foreign ministry no longer advises against non-essential travel.

Travellers coming to Denmark from “yellow” European Union or Schengen countries no longer have to show a negative coronavirus test before boarding the plane, according to updated rules introduced earlier this month. Neither do they have to go into self-isolation on arrival in Denmark (although they still need to have a test on arrival, unless they have been vaccinated or have recently recovered from Covid-19).

READ ALSO: Denmark eases travel restrictions: EU tourists can now come to Denmark

Even in yellow countries, the foreign ministry still advises travellers from Denmark to be “extra cautious”.

In addition to Bulgaria and Poland, regions of several other countries now change to yellow. The change comes into effect from 4pm on Saturday.

Those regions are: Umbria, Liguria, Abruzzo and Veneto (all in Italy); Cantabria (Spain); Corsica (France); and Salzburg and Lower Austria (both Austria).

Travellers from EU and Schengen countries rated orange still need to show a negative test before boarding the plane, get tested on arrival in Denmark, and to go into self-isolation for at least four days until they test negative for coronavirus, or ten days without a test.

Although Denmark can change its travel advice for specific countries or regions, it should be noted that local restrictions at destinations can still affect Danish travellers. This may include requirements for testing or quarantine.

READ ALSO: What are the rules on travel between the UK and 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.”