Denmark tightens rules on travel from UK to slow Delta variant

Denmark is to tighten restrictions for travel from the UK in response to the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in India, and has now become the dominant variant among samples sequenced in the UK.

Denmark tightens rules on travel from UK to slow Delta variant
A member of staff at the UK's Heathrow Airport helps a passenger in May. Photo: John Sibley/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The new tighter restrictions will apply from midnight on Thursday and will remain in place until June 26th, the Danish foreign ministry said in a press release issued late on Tuesday.

Under the new restrictions, travellers from the UK to Denmark will need to show a negative PCR test less than 48 hours old before boarding a flight from the UK. Previously it was also possible to show a negative antigen, or rapid, test. 

Anyone resident in the UK who enters Denmark by sea, land or plane will also need to show a negative PCR test less than 48 hours old.

The country is also changing its travel advice to warn Danish residents and citizens against travelling, even for business reasons, to four hard-hit areas: Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton and Rossendale. These areas will be classed as “red” in Denmark’s traffic light system.

Anyone entering Denmark from these areas, or who lives in these areas, will also be subject to the guidelines for “red countries”, Denmark’s toughest restrictions, meaning only those whose reason for travel is included in the country’s shortest list of “essential reasons” can enter Denmark.

The travel guidance for the rest of the UK will remain “orange”, with all unnecessary travel to the UK for Danish residents discouraged.

The ministry does not advise Danish travellers currently in the UK to travel home, but asks them instead to be aware of whether they have stayed in one of the four high risk areas during their trip.

The stricter travel rules for the UK do not affect the decision from June 5th to allow UK citizens who have been fully vaccinated to travel to Denmark without needing to prove a “worthy purpose”, show a negative test result before boarding, or self-isolate on arrival.

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Could Oslo-Copenhagen overnight train be set for return?

A direct overnight rail service between the Norwegian and Danish capitals has not operated since 2001, but authorities in Oslo are considering its return.

Norway’s transport minister Knut Arild Hareide has asked the country’s railway authority Jernbanedirektoratet to investigate the options for opening a night rail connection between Oslo and Copenhagen.

An answer is expected by November 1st, after which the Norwegian government will decide whether to go forward with the proposal to directly link the two Nordic capitals by rail.

Jernbanedirektoratet is expected to assess a timeline for introducing the service along with costs, market and potential conflicts with other commercial services covering the route.

“I hope we’ll secure a deal. Cross-border trains are exciting, including taking a train to Malmö, Copenhagen and onwards to Europe,” Hareide told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

The minister said he envisaged either a state-funded project or a competition awarding a contract for the route’s operation to the best bidder.

A future Oslo-Copenhagen night train rests on the forthcoming Jernbanedirektoratet report and its chances of becoming a reality are therefore unclear. But the Norwegian rail authority earlier this year published a separate report on ways in which passenger train service options from Norway to Denmark via Sweden can be improved.

“We see an increasing interest in travelling out of Norway by train,” Jernbanedirektoratet project manager  Hanne Juul said in a statement when the report was published in January.

“A customer study confirmed this impression and we therefore wish to make it simpler to take the train to destinations abroad,” Juul added.

Participants in the study said that lower prices, fewer connections and better information were among the factors that would encourage them to choose the train for a journey abroad.

Norway’s rail authority also concluded that better international cooperation would optimise cross-border rail journeys, for example by making journey and departure times fit together more efficiently.

The Femahrn connection between Denmark and Germany, currently under construction, was cited as a factor which could also boost the potential for an overland rail connection from Norway to mainland Europe.

Night trains connected Oslo to Europe via Copenhagen with several departures daily as recently as the late 1990s, but the last such night train between the two cities ran in 2001 amid dwindling demand.

That trend has begun to reverse in recent years due in part to an increasing desire among travellers to select a greener option for their journey than flying.

Earlier this summer, a new overnight train from Stockholm to Berlin began operating. That service can be boarded by Danish passengers at Høje Taastrup near Copenhagen.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany