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COVID-19 RULES

Denmark changes United States to orange in updated Covid-19 travel guidelines

The United States will on Saturday change status to orange in Denmark’s Covid-19 travel guidelines, tightening restrictions on travel for non-vaccinated people.

Denmark changes United States to orange in updated Covid-19 travel guidelines
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The United States moves to orange along with Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia in updated travel guidelines announced by the Danish foreign ministry on Friday. The US and Israel were previously classed as “hatched orange”, while the others were yellow.

Fully vaccinated travellers do not face any change in rules as a result of the orange status. As such, fully vaccinated people from the United States and other orange countries may enter Denmark without any requirement to take a Covid-19 test before or after arrival or to isolate.

Unvaccinated people from orange countries who have conferred immunity due to previous infection with Covid-19 are likewise not required to test or isolate but, unlike vaccinated people, must provide a worthy purpose for travelling to Denmark (this does not include tourism). Worthy purpose requirements do not apply to Danish nationals or people resident in Denmark. Detailed information about worthy purposes can be found here.

People who are travelling from orange countries based on a negative test (and are therefore neither vaccinated nor have been previously infected with Covid-19) are required to isolate after entering Denmark. They must also provide a worthy purpose for travel (see above). As when arriving from yellow countries, non-vaccinated people in this category must take a Covid-19 test before and after travel to Denmark.

Detailed information on the restrictions can be found here.

Denmark’s decision comes after the European Council removed the US and the five other countries from its travel safe list on Monday, meaning visitors, particularly those not vaccinated against Covid-19, can face tighter restrictions on travel to Europe.

The EU’s decision is non-binding and individual member states can decide how to act, but Denmark’s decision on Friday follows the EU’s stance.

The move by the EU follows a steep rise in Covid rates in both the US and Israel sparked by the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.

The EU Council bases its decision on “the epidemiological situation and overall response to COVID-19, as well as the reliability of the available information and data sources.”

It also takes into account reciprocity, in other words how countries treat travellers from EU countries.

In recent weeks there has been heightened pressure to remove the US from the list, not only due to rising Covid rates but also because the US still bars non-essential travel from European countries.

The Danish foreign ministry advises against non-essential travel to orange countries. The recommendation does not immediately apply to people who are fully vaccinated or have immunity conferred by previous infection.

The new guidelines come into effect at 4pm on Saturday.

READ ALSO: Travel update: Denmark changes Sweden to yellow in latest guidelines

Member comments

  1. Is there any clarification as to whether UK travellers who were vaccinated with one of the Astrazenca India vaccines need to test / quarantine? I don’t see anything online confirming this one way or another but makes me anxious to book travel.

    1. Vaccinated U.K. travellers (even with AZ) don’t need to test prior to travelling to Denmark or to quarantine on arrival. Returning to the U.K. is a far more convoluted process though.

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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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