Denmark to end Covid-19 colour system in ‘normalisation’ of travel rules

A plan to lift most restrictions on travel in and out of Denmark will begin to take effect later this week, including the end of the foreign ministry’s traffic light guideline system for travel abroad.

A SAS aircraft on the tarmac at Copenhagen Airport. Denmark is to lift most of its Covid-19 travel restrictions by the end of this month and simplify the remainder.
Denmark is to lift most of its Covid-19 travel restrictions by the end of this month and simplify the remainder.Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

A broad majority of parties in the Danish parliament agreed on Tuesday night on “significant easing and simplification of travel restrictions” in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The majority of the Danish population is fully vaccinated, whereby Covid-19 presents a lesser danger for the population and society,” a Ministry of Justice statement read, announcing the agreement.

The parties meanwhile maintain that there “remains a need for a response which can be quickly and efficiently activated if new, concerning virus variants emerge abroad and can threaten control of the epidemic in Denmark”.

In the statement, the parties also cite the advanced stage of Covid-19 vaccination programmes across Europe as a supporting factor in easing travel rules.

A key part of the agreement is the decision to “normalise (foreign ministry) travel so that the coronavirus situation in other countries does not form the basis of Foreign Ministry travel guidelines”, the justice ministry said.

“This is a logical step back towards normality, where travel restrictions reflect the security situation abroad – and not corona,” it added.

Additionally, entry restrictions will be streamlined and simplified to focus on travellers who are not vaccinated against or previously infected with Covid-19, conferring immunity.

Earlier restrictions can be reimplemented in response to the emergence of concerning variants in other countries.

New rules for Danish residents travelling abroad (effective from Friday October 15th) 

  • Foreign ministry travel guidelines no longer be colour coordinated in accordance with Covid-19 infection rates in a country. Guidelines will return to a focus on security
  • Travellers from Denmark advised to check entry restrictions at destination on Danish Embassy websites
  • Non-vaccinated Danish residents can check testing and isolation requirements for return to Denmark via website.

New entry rules for travel to Denmark (effective from Monday October 25th)

  • Within the EU and Schengen zone, vaccinated people, people with previous and infection and those who have a negative Covid-19 will be able to enter Denmark with no restrictions
  • People with no vaccination, previous infection nor negative test will be required to take a test within 24 hours after entering Denmark
  • The ‘worthy purpose’ required for entry to Denmark from people from some country categories and vaccination statuses will be entirely revoked
  • Requirements for testing prior to entry into Denmark will be revoked
  • Police border control related to Covid-19 ends
  • Fully vaccinated people from OECD countries, countries on the EU’s positive list from which Denmark allows travel and countries added to the EU’s digital health certificate scheme (on an ongoing basis) can enter Denmark without any testing and isolation requirements
  • Non-vaccinated people from countries on the EU’s positive list from which Denmark allows travel will be required to take a Covid-19 test after entering Denmark
  • People entering from third countries not on the EU’s positive list will still be required to comply with testing and isolation rules.

“We are in a good position in Denmark in which Covid-19 is no longer considered a critical threat to society and the majority of the population is now vaccinated. It is therefore no longer necessary to maintain intense police border controls in which tourists from outside the EU needed specific reasons to be permitted to enter Denmark,” justice minister Nick Hækkerup said in the statement.

“I am therefore pleased that the government and a broad majority of parliament has agreed to revoke the majority travel restrictions,” he added.

Parties from both sides of the political aisle support the agreement, which received the backing of the Social Liberals, Socialist People’s Party, Red Green Alliance, Liberal Party, Conservatives, Danish People’s Party, Liberal Alliance and Alternative, along with the government.

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Crisis-stricken airline SAS records heavy losses

Troubled Scandinavian airline SAS, which has filed for bankruptcy in the United States, reported deeper losses in the fourth quarter on Wednesday.

Crisis-stricken airline SAS records heavy losses

Net losses amounted to more than 1.2 billion Swedish kronor ($117 million) in the August-October period, compared to a loss of 744 million kronor a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

“As with previous quarters in 2022, the currencies (foreign exchange) and jet-fuel price have brought strong headwinds for our business,” said SAS chief executive Anko van der Werff.

The airline, however, saw the “highest number” of passengers since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, with healthy demand in the summer, van der
Werff said.

The airline, which cut 5,000 jobs in 2020, is preparing for “substantial recruitments and rehirings” to meet the expected increase in demand next
summer, he added.

SAS filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States in July — a move allowing a company to restructure its debts under court

Van der Werff said the airline expected to complete the court-supervised process during the second half of 2023.

Earlier this year, The airline posted a net loss of 1.84 billion kronor ($170 million) for the May-July period, compared to a loss of 1.33 billion kronor a year earlier.

Earnings were “severely affected” by the 15-day pilot strike between July 4th-19th, which led to the cancellation of some 4,000 flights affecting more than 380,000 passengers, the company said in a statement.