Denmark advises against travel to eight Swedish regions due to increased coronavirus infections

A recent increase in Covid-19 infections in Sweden has resulted in Denmark’s foreign ministry now advising against non-essential travel to 8 of the country’s 21 regions.

Denmark advises against travel to eight Swedish regions due to increased coronavirus infections
New Danish guidelines for travel to eight Swedish regions apply from October 8th. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

The regions in question are Halland, Blekinge, Stockholm, Jämtland Härjedalen, Kronoberg, Uppsala, Västmanland and Örebro.

The foreign ministry updated its travel guidelines on Thursday. They take effect immediately.

Danish authorities advise against non-essential travel when the rate of Covid-19 infections exceeds 30 new cases per 100,000 residents per week. 

For fellow Nordic countries, this is applied on a regional basis, so travel to some areas can be excluded while other parts of the country remains open. Conversely, this allows travel to some parts of a Nordic country to continue even if the country as a whole is above the 30 new cases per 100,000 residents per week threshold.

This is currently the case for Sweden, which has 32.4 cases per 100,000 residents per week at the time of writing. The country’s 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people is 65.8 according to figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the EU agency monitoring the data.

People who live in countries to which Denmark advises against travel are required to provide a so-called “worthy” (anerkendelsesværdigt) reason for entering Denmark. This can include work or family reasons but not tourism. Detailed guidance can be found on the Danish police website.

If Danish residents travel to a country to which the foreign ministry advises against non-essential travel, they are asked to home quarantine for 14 days on returning to Denmark.

If you were already in one of the listed areas on October 8th, the ministry states it is okay to stay until the end of your planned trip, but you should get a Covid-19 test on your return to Denmark. You do not need to quarantine for 14 days.

The model for travel guidelines for EU and Schengen countries asks travellers to get tested after returning from a region where the number of infections has increased to 50 or more new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last week.

The travel guidelines published by the Danish foreign ministry are primarily aimed at Danish tourists. Business travel can be deemed ‘essential', meaning travel to a country on Denmark's ‘banned' list for business purposes is not necessarily advised against.

Individual companies and employees can “assess whether a business trip is a necessary trip”, the ministry states on its travel guidelines page for Sweden.

“We encourage companies and their employees to follow the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' special travel advice for business travel and stay up to date on local travel restrictions on the relevant embassy website,” it adds.

Denmark also advises against all non-essential travel to non-EU or Schengen area European countries and to the rest of the world.

The foreign ministry list of recommended travel destinations is updated weekly at 4pm on Thursdays.

In addition to the number of infections, Danish authorities also look at testing and the percentage of tests which are positive. A maximum of five percent of those tested may test positive.

READ ALSO: Denmark tells airlines to refund cancelled tickets by December

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New Covid-19 wave in Sweden ‘to peak at end of September’

Sweden's Public Health Agency has warned of a new autumn wave of Covid-19 which it expects to peak at the end of September.

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden 'to peak at end of September'

According to both of the two new scenarios published by the agency on Monday, infection rates are set to rise steadily over the next month, something the agency said was due to a falling immunity in the population and greater contact between people as they return to schools and workplaces after the summer. 

“It is difficult to say how high the peak will be, but it is unlikely that it will reach the same levels as in January and February,” the agency’s unit chief Sara Byfors said in a press release. “The most important thing is that people in risk groups and those who are 65 years old and above get vaccinated with a booster dose in the autumn to reduce the risk of serious illness and death.” 

Under Scenario 0, the amount of contact between people stays at current levels, leading to a peak in reported Covid-19 cases at around 5,000 a day. In Scenario 1, contact between people increases by about 10 percent from the middle of August, leading to a higher peak of about 7,000 reported cases a day. 

The agency said that employers should be prepared for many staff to be off sick simultaneously at points over the next month, but said in its release that it did not judge the situation to be sufficiently serious to require either it or the government to impose additional infection control measures. 

It was important, however, it said, that those managing health and elderly care continued to test those with symptoms and to track the chain of infections, that people go and get the booster doses when they are supposed to have under the vaccination programme, and that those who have symptoms of Covid-19 stay home.