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Denmark tightens rules on travel from border regions

The Ministry of Justice has announced that it will introduce stricter rules on travel from regions bordering Denmark.

Denmark tightens rules on travel from border regions
File photo: Nils Meilvang/Ritzau Scanpix

The decision has been taken due to concerns over the risk of spread of the more infectious B1351 variant of Covid-19, the ministry said in a statement.

Residents in border regions have faced more flexible entry requirements than others to ease movement in and out of the country for work, business, study or private matters.

READ ALSO: These are Denmark's current Covid-19 travel restrictions

But authorities now believe there is an increased risk of spread of the B1531 variant, which was first detected in South Africa, via border areas.

As such, people entering Denmark from Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) and Skåne, Halland, Västra Götaland and Blekinge (Sweden) must have a ‘valid' reason for travel and a negative Covid-19 test taken with the last 72 hours. Previously, a test up to a week old was allowed.

The new requirement will take effect from Wednesday February 17th.

In addition to the requirement for a recent, negative Covid-19 test, people travelling into Denmark from abroad are required to take a new Covid-19 test within 24 hours of arrival and to self-quarantine for ten days, according to the current travel restrictions, which have been in place since February 7th.

However, exemptions to the entry test and quarantine requirements apply for people who live in Denmark but work or provide services in border regions, or visit loved ones there.

These exemptions remain in place after February 17th but will now require a negative test less than 72 hours old on entry (changed from the previous 7 days). 

“It is important that people who live and work in the border regions can cross the borders and the government understands this. But it is also important to protect Denmark against virus variants that can create greater uncertainty in the epidemic. That’s why it is necessary to tighten the requirements for testing for people who move around the border areas,” health minister Magnus Heunicke said in the statement.

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COVID-19

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany’s spending in pandemic

The German Constitutional Court rejected challenges Tuesday to Berlin's participation in the European Union's coronavirus recovery fund, but expressed some reservations about the massive package.

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany's spending in pandemic

Germany last year ratified the €750-billion ($790-billion) fund, which offers loans and grants to EU countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

The court in Karlsruhe ruled on two challenges, one submitted by a former founder of the far-right AfD party, and the other by a businessman.

They argued the fund could ultimately lead to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, having to take on the debts of other EU member states on a permanent basis.

But the Constitutional Court judges ruled the EU measure does not violate Germany’s Basic Law, which forbids the government from sharing other countries’ debts.

READ ALSO: Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The judgement noted the government had stressed that the plan was “intended to be a one-time instrument in reaction to an unprecedented crisis”.

It also noted that the German parliament retains “sufficient influence in the decision-making process as to how the funds provided will be used”.

The judges, who ruled six to one against the challenges, did however express some reservations.

They questioned whether paying out such a large amount over the planned period – until 2026 – could really be considered “an exceptional measure” to fight the pandemic.

At least 37 percent of the funds are aimed at achieving climate targets, the judges said, noting it was hard to see a link between combating global warming and the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany to fast-track disputed €200 billion energy fund

They also warned against any permanent mechanism that could lead to EU members taking on joint liability over the long term.

Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding said the ruling had “raised serious doubts whether the joint issuance to finance the fund is in line with” EU treaties.

“The German court — once again — emphasised German limits for EU fiscal integration,” he said.

The court had already thrown out a legal challenge, in April 2021, that had initially stopped Berlin from ratifying the financial package.

Along with French President Emmanuel Macron, then chancellor Angela Merkel sketched out the fund in 2020, which eventually was agreed by the EU’s 27 members in December.

The first funds were disbursed in summer 2021, with the most given to Italy and Spain, both hit hard by the pandemic.

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