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TRAVEL NEWS

Sweden scraps negative Covid test for travellers from Denmark

Less than four weeks after it was introduced, Sweden will later this week scrap the Covid test requirement for foreign visitors from some countries, including Denmark, and will bring back the vaccine pass rules that applied before the turn of the year.

A file photo near the Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden. Sweden will from January 21st scrap a rule requiring visitors from Denmark to show a negative Covid-19 test.
A file photo near the Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden. Sweden will from January 21st scrap a rule requiring visitors from Denmark to show a negative Covid-19 test. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The Swedish government made the announcement following a request from the Public Health Agency, with the new border rules set to come into force on Friday, January 21st.

Since December 28th, foreign citizens (with some exceptions, such as residents of Sweden or people travelling for urgent family reasons) have had to show a negative test to be allowed into the country, regardless of country of departure or vaccination status.

These rules were introduced after the Omicron variant of the coronavirus started to spread in other European countries, but the variant now dominates in Sweden too. Sweden has been seeing a rapid increase in the number of new Covid cases in recent weeks.

“Travellers are no longer considered to pose a special risk of affecting the spread of Omicron in Sweden. The special requirement for a negative test for ongoing Covid-19 infection performed no more than 48 hours before arrival in Sweden is therefore no longer considered to be a proportionate measure, according to a request from the Swedish Public Health Agency,” read a government statement on Tuesday.

The entry rules that applied prior to December 28th will now be brought back.

This means that adult foreign citizens (again with certain exceptions) travelling to Sweden from EU/EEA countries, including the Nordics, will have to show either the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate or a valid equivalent which shows that the person is either fully vaccinated with a first and second dose, tested negative no more than 72 hours before arrival, or recovered from confirmed infection in the past six months.

People travelling from Danish island Bornholm to Denmark via Sweden are exempted from requirements to provide either a negative test or a Covid Certificate. They must, however, be able to prove that they are travelling between the two locations.

Commuters from Denmark have been allowed to use a negative Covid test up to a week old under the rules that have been in place since December 28th, under a special exemption. They will, like all other EU travellers, no longer need to provide a negative test of any kind from Friday.

Foreign citizens travelling to Sweden from outside the EU/EEA must be covered by an exemption from the overall entry ban (for example if they live in an “exempt” country), and show a negative Covid test no older than 72 hours unless they are also exempt from the test requirement.

Several categories of travellers are exempt both from the entry ban and from presenting a negative test on the border, for example under-18s, people who live in Sweden, people travelling for urgent family reasons, or travellers with vaccination certificates issued in so-called “approved” countries. A full list of countries whose vaccination certificates Sweden accepts for entry can be found here.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Copenhagen Airport passengers warned of more queues on holiday weekends

Long queues were reported at Copenhagen Airport during last week’s extended public holiday weekend and similar issues are likely during two more upcoming holidays.

Copenhagen Airport passengers warned of more queues on holiday weekends

Staff shortages at security checks, caused by a lengthy rehiring process following the Covid-19 crisis, have been blamed for crowds and long queues at Copenhagen Airport during peak times this spring.

Long waiting times at security were reported both Thursday and Sunday at Copenhagen Airport, resulting in a significant number of passengers missing flights, broadcaster DR writes.

The airport’s commercial director Peter Krogsgaard told DR that Copenhagen is not alone in experiencing problems with queues.

“Copenhagen Airport and all airports in Europe have had a lot to do in re-hiring and training many employees after corona,” Krogsgaard said.

“We are therefore seeing that, now passengers are coming back and fortunately want to travel again, we are under a bit of pressure to begin with,” he said.

This means that passengers planning to travel during two more upcoming peak times – the public holidays on Ascension Day (Thursday May 26th) and Pentecost (Monday June 6th) – should brace themselves for lengthy queues at the airport.

Up to 70,000 passengers are expected during the first of the two public holidays, according to Copenhagen Airport.

“We expect to be very busy and are therefore advising all passengers travelling within Europe to arrive two hours before their flight. If you are going to outside of Europe, to the Unites States or Asia, you should come three hours before,” Krogsgaard told DR.

Passengers have few options should they miss flights due to long waits at security, a consumer rights consultant said to DR.

“You are in a very bad situation if you get to the airport too late in relation to the waiting times there actually are at security, because it’s your own responsibility to get to the airport in time to make the flight,” Vagn Jelsøe, senior consultant with the Danish Consumer Council (Forbrugerrådet Tænk), said to DR.

The airport expects to be fully staffed by the beginning of June, DR reports.

“Since January, we’ve done nothing other than hire a lot of new people and they must be trained and educated, and it takes some time for them to get to the security lanes,” Krogsgaard also said.

Airline SAS last week said it would cancel around 4,000 flights over the summer. The decision was made due to staff shortages combined with delayed deliveries of new aeroplanes, SAS said.

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