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Denmark to ease travel restrictions: What changes in Denmark this Saturday?

Denmark will on Saturday bring in the fourth and final stage of its lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions, with the EU digital covid certificate playing a bigger rule and a new "green" travel category.

Denmark to ease travel restrictions: What changes in Denmark this Saturday?
Denmark's health minister Magnus Heunicke shows off Denmark's updated version of the EU Digital Covid Certificate at the end of May. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

According to a press release issued last week by the Justice Ministry, Saturday June 26th will mark the shift to a “corona passport-based approach” to travel. 

What does it mean that Denmark is shifting to a “Covid-19 passport based system” in the EU and Schengen area? 

This means that anyone carrying an EU Digital Covid Certificate, which shows either a recent negative test result, completed vaccination or a positive test between 14 and 180 days old, will be able to use it to enter Denmark. 

Previously, you would have had to carry a the evidence in paper form. 

Although the EU-wide scheme starts formally on July 1st, according to the ministry 16 EU countries are already using the coordinated QR-code based system. 

Which are the 16 countries already using the EU Digital Covid Certificate system? 

All of the following countries already have the system up and running as of Monday June 21st: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. 

What is the new “green” category? 

As part of the phase four reopening, Denmark is reintroducing the “green” travel category of its traffic light system.

All EU and Schengen countries which previously met the criteria to be classed as “yellow”, will from Saturday be classed as “green”. 

“Green” countries will be defined as EU or Schengen countries that have registered less than 50 to 60 cases per 100,000 people over the past week. 

EU or Schengen countries that have registered more than 50 to 60 cases per 100,000 people over the preceding week will be ranked “yellow”, as will non-EU countries who are on the EU approved list.  Other non-EU countries will be ranked “orange”. Countries or regions of countries will be marked “red”, if there is a high prevalence there of concerning virus variants. 

Danish citizens travelling from a “green” or “yellow” country will not need to show any test results before coming to Denmark or isolate on their return, mean travelling is effectively now free throughout the European Union and Schengen countries. 

When do you need to use the EU Digital Covid Certificate? 

Those who have been vaccinated or are immune can use the app to prove their status. 

Residents or citizens of EU/Schengen countries who are neither vaccinated no immune will need to use their app to show that they have had a 

recent negative Covid-19 test whether they are travelling, whether their country is ranked green, yellow, orange or red country. 

What changes are there to tourists coming from cruise ships? 
From June 26th, if all guests on a cruise ship have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), in an OECD, EU, Schengen or “yellow” third country, then the ships will be able to visit ports and discharge passengers. 
What is the Danish government doing to make it easier to understand the requirements? 
At some point this week, the Danish government will create a new clickable guide to help foreign tourists better understand their travel requirements. 

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Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

The health ministry is reviewing its quarantine requirements as the country's Covid-19 health situation improved again this week, according to Italian media reports.

Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

Italy has taken a more cautious approach to Covid in recent months than many of its European neighbours, keeping strict isolation rules in place for anyone who tests positive for the virus.

But this could be set to change in the coming days, according to media reports, as one of Italy’s deputy health ministers said the government is about to cut the isolation period for asymptomatic cases.

“Certainly in the next few days there will be a reduction in isolation for those who are positive but have no symptoms,” Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa said in a TV interview on the political talk show Agorà on Tuesday.

“We have to manage to live with the virus,” he said.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported that the compulsory isolation period could be reduced to 48 hours for those who test positive but remain asymptomatic – provided they subsequently test negative after the day two mark.

Under Italy’s current rules, vaccinated people who test positive must stay in isolation for at least seven days, and unvaccinated people for ten days – regardless of whether or not they have any symptoms.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

At the end of the isolation period, the patient has to take another test to exit quarantine. Those who test negative are free to leave; those who remain positive must stay in isolation until they get a negative test result, up to a maximum of 21 days in total (at which point it doesn’t matter what the test result says).

Health ministry sources indicated the new rules would cut the maximum quarantine period to 15 or even 10 days for people who continue to test positive after the initial isolation period is up, La Stampa said.

The government is believed to be reviewing the rules as the latest official data showed Covid infection and hospitalisation rates were slowing again this week, as the current wave of contagions appeared to have peaked in mid-July.

However, the national Rt number (which shows the rate of transmission) remained above the epidemic threshold, and the number of fatalities continued to rise.

The proposed changes still aren’t lenient enough for some parties. Regional authorities have been pushing for an end to quarantine altogether, even for people who are actively positive – an idea Costa appears sympathetic to.

“The next step I think is to consider the idea of even eliminating the quarantine, perhaps by wearing a mask and therefore being able to go to work,” he told reporters.

“We must review the criteria for isolation, to avoid blocking the country again”.

At least one health expert, however, was unenthusiastic about the proposal.

Dr Nino Cartabellotta, head of Italy’s evidence-based medicine group Gimbe, tweeted on Tuesday: “There are currently no epidemiological or public health reasons to abolish the isolation of Covid-19 positives”

Massimo Andreoni, professor of Infectious Diseases at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Tor Vergata University of Rome, was more ambivalent about the prospect.

The isolation requirement for asymptomatic cases should be “revised somewhat in the light of the epidemiological data”, he told reporters, but urged “a minimum of precaution, because the less the virus circulates and the fewer severe cases there are, the fewer new variants arise”.

When the question was last raised at the end of June, Health Minister Roberto Speranza was firmly against the idea of lifting quarantine requirements for people who were Covid positive.

“At the moment such a thing is not in question,” he told newspaper La Repubblica at the time. “Anyone who is infected must stay at home.”