Hundreds of journeys delayed by new Swedish and Danish Covid-19 testing rules

At least 600 people travelling from Denmark have been denied entry to Sweden since the latter country introduced a new requirement for entry Covid-19 tests on December 28th.

Swedish police check papers at the Öresund Bridge border with Denmark on December 28th. Hundreds of travellers are reported to have been turned away due to a new Covid-19 test requirement.
Swedish police check papers at the Öresund Bridge border with Denmark on December 28th. Hundreds of travellers are reported to have been turned away due to a new Covid-19 test requirement. Photo: Anders Bjurö/TT/Ritzau Scanpix

Sweden’s Polisregion Syd, which conducts police control at the Öresund Bridge, Helsingborg and Ystad border points, confirmed the figure to Danish news wire Ritzau on Wednesday, as reported by broadcaster DR.

The border refusals are related to a new rule introduced by Sweden on December 28th requiring most travellers from Denmark to present a negative Covid-19 test at the border. The test must be no more than 48 hours old.

READ ALSO: Sweden implements new Covid-19 test rules for travel from Denmark

The Swedish police did not give exact details on the number of Danish citizens who were among the refusals, but said they constituted the “considerable majority”.

The 600 persons were refused entry between midnight on December 28th and 7am on Wednesday.

As of December 28th, many foreign travellers need to show a negative Covid test to be allowed to enter Sweden, regardless of whether or not they are fully vaccinated and regardless of which country they’re travelling from – non-EU, EU or any of the Nordic countries.

Swedish citizens and foreign residents who can prove they live in Sweden are among the categories of travellers who are exempt from showing a negative test.

People travelling from the EU, including Nordic countries Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland, need to show a negative test, regardless of vaccination status.

Meanwhile, Denmark’s own rules for entry testing also presented problems for travellers heading to Sweden on Wednesday.

Under rules introduced on December 27th, all travellers are required to test for Covid-19 in connection with arrival in Denmark. The rule applies to Danish citizens and residents as well as foreign visitors and applies regardless of vaccination status.

Residents of Denmark are permitted to take a test up to 24 hours after arrival, while people without an address in Denmark must take a Covid-19 test before entry to the Scandinavian country.

READ ALSO: Travellers returning to Denmark after Christmas must take Covid-19 test

A number of exceptions apply to the testing requirement, including children under the age of 15 and persons with addresses in border regions Schlesvig-Holstein (Germany) and Blekinge, Skåne, Halland and Västra Götaland (Sweden).

Travellers who transit through Denmark and stay for less than one day before leaving are likewise not required to test. This allows, for example, Swedish residents who travel through Copenhagen Airport before continuing their journeys overland to avoid the testing requirement.

The Local Sweden reporter Becky Waterton was not permitted to board her SAS flight from Manchester to Copenhagen on December 29th. SAS cited Denmark’s testing requirement and would not permit Waterton to board until she and her partner paid around 80 pounds to take Covid-19 tests at Manchester Airport.

When presented with official information showing Denmark’s entry testing rules, an airline staff member claimed the information was “not updated”, she said.

Waterton should have been exempted from the testing requirement because she was transiting through Denmark and leaving the country within 24 hours; and additionally because she resides in one of the border regions.

The exemptions for border residents and transit travellers are outlined on the websites of both the Danish Ministry of Health and the country’s Coronasmitte official information page for travellers.

Have you run into problems travelling to Denmark or Sweden as a result of the new restrictions? We’d be interested to hear from you if so — you’re welcome to get in touch with either The Local Sweden or The Local Denmark.

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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.