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Danish travel rules: What’s the difference between ‘risk’ and ‘high risk’ countries?

Denmark’s Covid-19 travel rules can be confusing for international travellers trying to figure out if they can enter the country. What is the difference between a ‘risk’ and ‘high risk’ country, and how will this affect you?

Denmark differentiates between ‘risk’ and ‘high risk’ non-EU countries for Covid-19 travel, which can affect the rules that apply when entering the Nordic country.
Denmark differentiates between ‘risk’ and ‘high risk’ non-EU countries for Covid-19 travel, which can affect the rules that apply when entering the Nordic country. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Rules relating to documentation of a negative Covid-19 test currently apply for travel to Denmark, though persons resident in the country can take a test up to 24 hours after entry. For those who live abroad, a negative Covid-19 test must be presented at entry.

Persons who have tested positive for Covid-19 (between 11 and 180 days ago) are exempt from testing rules.

In some cases, entry quarantine can be required for persons travelling from countries outside of the EU or Schengen area. This may also depend on whether the countries are considered by Denmark to be “risk” or “high risk” countries or regions with regard to Covid-19.

Only people from “high risk” countries have to isolate when travelling to Denmark, but in many cases isolation will not be necessary even if you come from a country on the “high risk” list. The various rules are set out below.

In updated rules added on January 16th to the Danish language version of the official website (which has a different layout to the English version), the distinction between risk and high risk, and how it affects quarantine and testing, is explained.

There are no isolation requirements for people travelling to Denmark from within the EU or Schengen area.

For other countries (including the United Kingdom), the rules which apply depend on whether Denmark considers the country to be a “risk” or “high risk” country or region.

The current entry testing and isolation rules are based on a directive that is valid until at least January 31st, 2022.

Countries can also be classified as countries of concern relating to a new Covid-19 variant. However, no country currently falls into this third category and it will not be further discussed in this article.

Covid-19 “risk countries” at the time of writing are Bahrain, Chile, Colombia, UAE, Indonesia, Kuwait, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Uruguay, plus Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Covid-19 “high risk” countries are all countries not on the above list that are not in the EU or Schengen area. The United Kingdom, United States, Australia and South Africa, for example, therefore all fall into this group. The three former countries are, however, members of the OECD, while South Africa is not. This is important for reasons which will follow below.

Persons who are fully vaccinated who live in either a “risk” country or an OECD country (even if it is “high risk”) can enter Denmark without being encompassed by entry quarantine rules.

Vaccinated persons who live in the EU or Schengen area do not have to enter isolation when entering Denmark from a high-risk country. Neither are people with an EU vaccination certificate who live in a high-risk country required to isolate.

Another exemption to isolation requirements can apply when entering Denmark from a high-risk country: namely a vaccine certificate given equivalent status with the EU vaccine pass by the European Commission.

The European Commission accepts vaccine passes from a list of countries, which are considered equivalent with the EU vaccine pass. The full list can be found here, and includes the United Kingdom but not the United States, Australia or South Africa. It is updated on an ongoing basis.

Taking travel from the United Kingdom as a case study, the rules mean the following for someone entering Denmark from the UK:

People who live in the UK don’t need to isolate on arrival in Denmark if they are fully vaccinated and can present the UK’s vaccination certificate, but they must take a Covid-19 test before entry (within the last 48 hours at the time of entry for a rapid antigen test or 72 hours for a PCR test).

Previously infected persons (who have documentation for a positive PCR test taken at least 11 days and less than 180 days ago) are not required to take a test or isolate.

Unvaccinated people from the UK with no history of infection must follow both test and isolation requirements.

Does this article make the rules clearer? Is there anything you’d like us to explain further or look into? Let us know.

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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.”