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Denmark to ease travel restrictions: What changes in Denmark this Saturday?

Denmark will on Saturday bring in the fourth and final stage of its lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions, with the EU digital covid certificate playing a bigger rule and a new "green" travel category.

Denmark to ease travel restrictions: What changes in Denmark this Saturday?
Denmark's health minister Magnus Heunicke shows off Denmark's updated version of the EU Digital Covid Certificate at the end of May. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

According to a press release issued last week by the Justice Ministry, Saturday June 26th will mark the shift to a “corona passport-based approach” to travel. 

What does it mean that Denmark is shifting to a “Covid-19 passport based system” in the EU and Schengen area? 

This means that anyone carrying an EU Digital Covid Certificate, which shows either a recent negative test result, completed vaccination or a positive test between 14 and 180 days old, will be able to use it to enter Denmark. 

Previously, you would have had to carry a the evidence in paper form. 

Although the EU-wide scheme starts formally on July 1st, according to the ministry 16 EU countries are already using the coordinated QR-code based system. 

Which are the 16 countries already using the EU Digital Covid Certificate system? 

All of the following countries already have the system up and running as of Monday June 21st: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. 

What is the new “green” category? 

As part of the phase four reopening, Denmark is reintroducing the “green” travel category of its traffic light system.

All EU and Schengen countries which previously met the criteria to be classed as “yellow”, will from Saturday be classed as “green”. 

“Green” countries will be defined as EU or Schengen countries that have registered less than 50 to 60 cases per 100,000 people over the past week. 

EU or Schengen countries that have registered more than 50 to 60 cases per 100,000 people over the preceding week will be ranked “yellow”, as will non-EU countries who are on the EU approved list.  Other non-EU countries will be ranked “orange”. Countries or regions of countries will be marked “red”, if there is a high prevalence there of concerning virus variants. 

Danish citizens travelling from a “green” or “yellow” country will not need to show any test results before coming to Denmark or isolate on their return, mean travelling is effectively now free throughout the European Union and Schengen countries. 

When do you need to use the EU Digital Covid Certificate? 

Those who have been vaccinated or are immune can use the app to prove their status. 

Residents or citizens of EU/Schengen countries who are neither vaccinated no immune will need to use their app to show that they have had a 

recent negative Covid-19 test whether they are travelling, whether their country is ranked green, yellow, orange or red country. 

What changes are there to tourists coming from cruise ships? 
From June 26th, if all guests on a cruise ship have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), in an OECD, EU, Schengen or “yellow” third country, then the ships will be able to visit ports and discharge passengers. 
What is the Danish government doing to make it easier to understand the requirements? 
At some point this week, the Danish government will create a new clickable guide to help foreign tourists better understand their travel requirements. 

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Denmark’s infectious disease agency does not recommend Covid tests for China arrivals

Travellers from China should not need a negative Covid-19 test when arriving in Denmark, the national infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute recommended on Saturday, in an assessment sent to the Ministry of Health.

Denmark's infectious disease agency does not recommend Covid tests for China arrivals

In the assessment by the State Serum Institute (SSI), it was noted that there aren’t expected to be a large number of arrivals coming directly from China and that any tests would have a marginal affect on Danish epidemic control.

However SSI wrote that it was still important to keep an eye on new variants of Covid-19 and suggested that a sample of voluntary-based PCR tests could be introduced for travellers from China.

The assessment was requested by Denmark’s health minister Sophie Løhde, following a recommendation on Wednesday by European Union experts to tighten travel rules.

Infection rates in China are high after it abolished its ‘zero Covid’ policy in late 2022, although no precise numbers are available.

Several European countries, including France, Spain, Italy and the UK, had already introduced testing requirements, while Sweden on Thursday announced a similar step, as did Germany, with an added announcement on Saturday to discourage non-essential travel from Germany to China.

The United States, Canada, India, South Korea and Taiwan have also put testing rules in place.

Health minister Sophie Løhde also asked SSI to assess testing waste water from aircraft landed from China. SSI responded that there is limited experience in this.

SSI currently analyses samples from shared toilet tanks at four airports twice a week – Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg and Billund. The method would have to be changed in order to detect new Covid-19 variants, which would take up to four weeks to implement, according to the assessment.

Løhde has informed the parliamentary parties about the assessment and has asked the Epidemic Commission for an advisory assessment, she said in a press release. Once this is done, the recommendations will be discussed.