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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‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.