Danish commission advises airlines demand Covid tests for flights from China 

Denmark’s advisory Epidemic Commission has not advised the government to require travellers from China to provide a negative Covid-19 test, but is advising airlines to request them.

Danish commission advises airlines demand Covid tests for flights from China 
A Danish advisory board has recommended airlines test passengers travelling from China for Covid-19, but the recommendation will not be enforced. File illustration photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

While the State Serum Institute, Denmark’s infectious disease agency, has determined it isn’t worth testing travelers from China for Covid-19 upon arrival in Denmark, the Epidemic Commission is urging airlines to take special precautions on flights from China. 

As per the government advisory group’s recommendations, Minister of Interior and Health Sophie Løhde has asked (but not required) the aviation industry to request negative tests from travellers from China before boarding planes as well as implement mask requirements. 

The Epidemic Commission has also suggested offering travellers from China free antigen tests upon arrival, as well as voluntary PCR-based spot testing for Covid and testing for the virus in waste water from aircraft.

Covid-19 infection rates in China are currently high after it abolished its ‘zero Covid’ policy in late 2022, although no precise numbers are available.

In an assessment by the State Serum Institute (SSI) published late last week, it was noted that there aren’t expected to be a large number of arrivals coming directly from China and that any tests would have a marginal effect on Danish epidemic control.

However, SSI wrote that it was still important to keep an eye on new variants of Covid-19 and suggested that a sample of voluntary-based PCR tests could be introduced for travellers from China.

“The government will follow the recommendations from SSI and the Epidemic Commission and at a meeting tomorrow with the [parliamentary] epidemic committee I will give the parliamentary parties a status update,” Løhde said.

The Epidemic Commission, an expert advisory group to the government, is distinct from parliament’s epidemic committee (Epidemiudvalget), which is concerned with oversight and on which MPs from all parliamentary parties are represented.

The interior and health ministries are in talks with authorities and airlines as to how the recommendations might be implanted.

READ ALSO: Danish health authorities say no need for new Covid-19 vaccination programme 

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Covid tests purchased by Denmark from ‘unregistered’ company were up to standard: health board

The Central Jutland (Midtjylland) regional health authority has responded after reports it had bought Covid-19 home tests from a British company that does not operate under standard market rules.

Covid tests purchased by Denmark from 'unregistered' company were up to standard: health board

43 million home (lateral flow) test kits were purchased in December by the Central Jutland authority from the UK-based Medical Supplies Direct company for 825.5 million kroner.

The company is not registered for the sale of medical equipment in Denmark or the EU and has no telephone number or website.

The Danish health authority said that foreign companies are not required to be registered with the Danish Medicines Agency (DMA). It also said that the purchase took place in a situation of high market pressure, and that the brand of the tests had been approved by medical experts.

In a review of the purchase published on Wednesday, Region Central Jutland stated that the DMA had confirmed over the telephone that registration of a supplier with them was not required in order for the tests to be purchased.

That came after Danish newspaper Politiken first reported earlier this week about the purchase of the tests.

In the review, Region Central Jutland CEO Anders Kjærulff said the “entire process (to buy the tests) took place under huge time constraints and in a turbulent market”.

“(It was) also in the period in which Omicron emerged as a Covid-19 variant. This was a market which was new for most of the contractors involved,” he said.

“But the work took place in dialogue with the market and with the national authorities, including medical experts and with focus on relevant legislation,” he said.

The purchase was made by Region Central Jutland on behalf of the Danish state and was, according to the review, requested by the Danish Critical Supplies Agency (Styrelsen for Forsyningssikkerhed).

The product of tests in question, Acon FlowFlex, are reported based on an analysis to detect 94 percent of positive Covid samples.

The Danish region initially tried to buy the tests from another company, Denmark-based CAP Partners A/S, which had provided the analysis of their accuracy. This company then referred the Danish authority to the British firm because it did not have sufficient stock.