Denmark placed on Israel’s Covid-19 travel ban list

Denmark was on Sunday added by Israel to its “red list” of countries to which travel is restricted due to a high level of Covid-19 cases.

Travellers at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport.
Travellers at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport. Photo: Amir Cohen/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The Israeli health ministry confirmed that both Denmark and the United Kingdom would be placed under travel restrictions due to “the significant spread of the Omicron variant” in both countries, news wire Reuters reported.

Israel’s red list comprises countries to which Israelis are banned from travelling. People travelling to Israel from red list countries must have special permission to enter the Middle Eastern country.

An additional 49 countries are already on the red list for Israel. These include South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho among other African countries placed on the list after the discovery of the Omicron variant.

The restrictions against Denmark and the UK take effect on Wednesday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

The number of cases of the Omicron variant detected in Denmark since it first appeared in late November was at 2,471 as of Sunday. The figure grew by 631 between Saturday and Sunday, and 560 between Friday and Saturday.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”