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TOURISM

What happens if a tourist gets Covid-19 while on holiday in Denmark?

What should tourists do if they develop Covid symptoms while on holiday in Denmark? Are the rules any different for fully vaccinated visitors? When can people return home?

What happens if a tourist gets Covid-19 while on holiday in Denmark?
Even if you test positive, you can still stay in your accommodation with those you are travelling with. Photo: Robin Skjoldborg/Visit Denmark

Tourists have been trickling back to Denmark this year, although mainly from neighbouring countries like Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden, with the those from the US — in normal year’s the country’s biggest tourism market, still relatively rare. 

Despite the precautions, and the testing requirements to enter Denmark from most countries outside the European Union, contracting Covid 19 is still a risk for holidaymakers – even those who have been vaccinated.

Cases have been hovering between 500 and 1,000 cases per day throughout most of July and August, up from fewer than 200 in June, although they appear to have levelled off somewhat in recent days.

Tourists should note however that the highest rates are in the capital, Copenhagen, where they are most likely to visit. So, what should holidaymakers do if they develop symptoms while on holiday in Denmark?

Do tourists in Denmark have to self isolate if they have Covid-19 symptoms?

Yes, they do.

Anyone displaying symptoms of Covid-19 (which include a cough, fever, runny nose, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, loss of taste or smell) should isolate at home – or in a hotel room or Airbnb, or wherever they are staying. 

The Danish Health Authority has published a pamphlet in English explaining what to do if you experience symptoms. 

  • You should avoid meeting anyone you are not travelling with 
  • You should keep your distance even from those you are travelling with 
  • You should maintain hygiene recommendations, washing your hands regularly, coughing into your elbow and cleaning surfaces. 

How do I get tested? 

You should book an appointment to get tested at the following numbers. 

  • Copenhagen: +4538660000
  • Rest of Zealand: +45 70 20 42 33
  • South Denmark: +45 99 44 07 17 
  • Central Jutland: +4578424242  
  • North Jutland: +4597648463

You can also simply drop into one of the test centres on this map which offer PCR tests to foreigners with no prior booking. 

You will also need to set up an account at www.covidresults.dk before getting your test to receive your test results.

Remember to wear a mask and keep your distance from others on your way to the test centre and if possible avoid public transport. 

While you wait for your test result, you should stay in self-isolation, but those you are travelling with can still go out, shop and carry on their holiday more or less as normal. 

How much does a test cost?

Denmark currently offers both PCR and antigen tests for free, even for tourists from outside the European Union. 

What happens if the test comes back positive?

If you test positive, you must self-isolate until you have been free from symptoms for 48 hours. If you had a rapid antigen test which came back positive, you should get a follow-up PCR test. Here is the leaflet on testing positive from the Danish Health Authority. 

After 10 days, you may also stop self-isolating if you feel much better and have residual symptoms such as loss of sense of taste and/or smell, a slight cough, headache, or fatigue. 

You can only stop self-isolating if you have had a normal temperature for 48 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications such as paracetamol. 

If you have never had any symptoms but have tested positive, you can stop isolating seven days after your positive test. 

If you are alone and need help shopping or doing other tasks, you can ring the Danish Red Cross’s helpline on +453529 9660 or email them on [email protected]

Contact tracing

You will probably be contacted by Denmark’s contact tracers, who will then help you list all of the people you have been in close contact with since arriving in Denmark. If they do not contact you automatically, you should ring the team on +4532320511.

If you have tested positive and have symptoms, your close contacts are everyone you have been in close contact with in the period from 48 hours before your symptoms started and until 48 hours after you were free from symptoms.

If you have tested positive and did not have any symptoms, your close contacts are everyone you have been in close contact with in the period from 48 hours before you had your test done and for the next 7 days.

Close contacts should self-isolate until they have received a negative test result. 

What happens if I start feeling ill? 

If symptoms get worse and you have trouble breathing, phone the emergency services on 112. 

You can also contact a doctor on one of the emergency medical helplines run by Denmark’s regional health authorities. 

Copenhagen region: +451813 

Zealand region: +45 70 15 07 00

Mid-Jutland:  +45 70 11 31 31

South Denmark: +45 70 11 07 07

North Jutland: +45 70 150 300

Can I go home?

Anyone displaying Covid-19 symptoms is urged not to travel, which means that if you develop symptoms while on holiday and test positive you will have to prolong your stay, at your own expense.

Insurance

Paying for an unforeseen and heavily restricted additional stay in Denmark could prove very expensive. It’s advisable, therefore, that you take out comprehensive travel insurance to be covered for all eventualities, not just Covid-19.

“It’s crucial to check the details to make sure that you have enough cover if you do need to isolate,” Rory Boland, Travel Editor at consumer group Which?, told the BBC.

This could potentially mean you get reimbursed for any extra days of accommodation you may have to pay for. “Some policies have a ‘day benefit’ rate, but check that that will be enough to cover the cost of the hotel and everything else you might need if you do need to quarantine,” Boland said.

If you are an EU citizen, bring your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) – or your GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) if you are British. This, at least, will cover the cost of urgent medical healthcare while you are in Denmark.

Even with an ECIC or a GHIC, you should still take out appropriate travel insurance, as neither covers all health-related costs, for example medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.

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COVID-19 ALERT

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

A resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe, this time driven by new, fast-spreading Omicron subvariants, is once again threatening to disrupt people's summer plans.

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

Several Western European nations have recently recorded their highest daily case numbers in months, due in part to Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

The increase in cases has spurred calls for increased vigilance across a continent that has relaxed most if not all coronavirus restrictions.

The first resurgence came in May in Portugal, where BA.5 propelled a wave that hit almost 30,000 cases a day at the beginning of June. That wave has since started to subside, however.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: German Health Ministry lays out autumn Covid plan

Italy recorded more than 62,700 cases on Tuesday, nearly doubling the number from the previous week, the health ministry said. 

Germany meanwhile reported more than 122,000 cases on Tuesday. 

France recorded over 95,000 cases on Tuesday, its highest daily number since late April, representing a 45-percent increase in just a week.

Austria this Wednesday recorded more than 10,000 for the first time since April.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Cases have also surged in Britain, where there has been a seven-fold increase in Omicron reinfection, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS blamed the rise on the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but also said Covid fell to the sixth most common cause of death in May, accounting for 3.3 percent of all deaths in England and Wales.

BA.5 ‘taking over’

Mircea Sofonea, an epidemiologist at the University of Montpellier, said Covid’s European summer wave could be explained by two factors.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

One is declining immunity, because “the protection conferred by an infection or a vaccine dose decreases in time,” he told AFP.

The other came down to the new subvariants BA.4 and particularly BA.5, which are spreading more quickly because they appear to be both more contagious and better able to escape immunity.

Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus and immunity unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said BA.5 was “taking over” because it is 10 percent more contagious than BA.2.

“We are faced with a continuous evolution of the virus, which encounters people who already have antibodies — because they have been previously infected or vaccinated — and then must find a selective advantage to be able to sneak in,” he said.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

But are the new subvariants more severe?

“Based on limited data, there is no evidence of BA.4 and BA.5 being associated with increased infection severity compared to the circulating variants BA.1 and BA.2,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said last week.

But rising cases can result in increasing hospitalisations and deaths, the ECDC warned.

Could masks be making a comeback over summer? (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Alain Fischer, who coordinates France’s pandemic vaccine strategy, warned that the country’s hospitalisations had begun to rise, which would likely lead to more intensive care admissions and eventually more deaths.

However, in Germany, virologist Klaus Stohr told the ZDF channel that “nothing dramatic will happen in the intensive care units in hospitals”.

Return of the mask? 

The ECDC called on European countries to “remain vigilant” by maintaining testing and surveillance systems.

“It is expected that additional booster doses will be needed for those groups most at risk of severe disease, in anticipation of future waves,” it added.

Faced with rising cases, last week Italy’s government chose to extend a requirement to wear medical grade FFP2 masks on public transport until September 30.

“I want to continue to recommend protecting yourself by getting a second booster shot,” said Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who recently tested positive for Covid.

READ ALSO: Spain to offer fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to ‘entire population’

Fischer said France had “clearly insufficient vaccination rates” and that a second booster shot was needed.

Germany’s government is waiting on expert advice on June 30 to decide whether to reimpose mandatory mask-wearing rules indoors.

The chairman of the World Medical Association, German doctor Frank Ulrich Montgomery, has recommended a “toolbox” against the Covid wave that includes mask-wearing, vaccination and limiting the number of contacts.

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