Greenland makes Covid-19 vaccination mandatory on public transport

Only people who have received at least the first dose of a coronavirus vaccination will be permitted to use public transport in Greenland from midnight on Monday.

Greenland makes Covid-19 vaccination mandatory on public transport
A Covid-19 test centre in Greenland's capital Nuuk earlier this year. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Greenland’s prime minister Múte B. Egede confirmed the decision on Monday afternoon according to local media Sermitsiaq.AG.

The autonomous territory currently has 29 confirmed active cases of Covid-19, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We must all take shared responsibility and show great caution since we do not yet know whether it is the Delta variant, which spreads a lot faster than the earlier Covid-19 variants,” Egede said at a briefing on Monday.

Passengers travelling to their home towns will be exempt from the vaccination requirement, however.

The new rule is initially in place until the end of July.

Although vaccination will now be required on public transport in Greenland, passengers will not be asked to show a vaccine passport or other form of documentation. That is because authorities say they trust the public to follow the rule.

In addition to public transport, unvaccinated people will not be allowed to use cafes, restaurants or sports facilities under the new restriction. Taxis are exempted from the rule.

Sermitsiaq.AG reports that 18,915 of Greenland’s population of around 56,000 are fully vaccinated, while 32,724 have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

A public assembly limit of 20 people will meanwhile remain in place in Greenland until the end of July.

READ ALSO: US no longer wants to buy Greenland, Secretary of State confirms

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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.