Denmark: Outright travel ban on non-British arrivals to the UK over coronavirus mink mutation fear

Travellers who have been on Danish soil in the past two weeks will be contacted and asked to quarantine

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Saturday 07 November 2020 11:29 GMT
Touching down: arrivals at Heathrow airport Terminal 5
Touching down: arrivals at Heathrow airport Terminal 5 (Simon Calder)

The government has imposed its first outright travel ban on arrivals since the coronavirus pandemic began.

In the early hours of Saturday, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that foreign visitors from Denmark will be denied entry.

The unprecedented move is because of serious concerns about mutations of coronavirus spreading from mink to humans.

All 17 million mink currently being bred on Danish farms are to be culled.

The move followed 24 hours after the DfT suddenly imposed quarantine on arrivals from Denmark.

The order to remove Denmark’s quarantine exemption took effect at 4am on Friday, giving no opportunity for British travellers to return without the need to quarantine.

The UK Border Force presence has been stepped up “to ensure that those arriving to the UK from Denmark were compliant with the new restrictions,” the DfT said.

Until further notice only British nationals, visa holders and permanent residents will be allowed in from Denmark. But anyone who has been on Danish territory in the past two weeks is subject to the most severe quarantine measures imposed since March.

None of the usual exceptions to 14 days of self-isolation will apply, and all members of the arriving traveller’s household must also quarantine.

The statement read: “The government has responded urgently to the latest developments by bringing in a number of measures.

“The Home Office is implementing immigration powers meaning visitors arriving into the UK from Denmark will not be permitted entry into the UK. This excludes freight and hauliers.

“All non-British national or resident travellers who have been in or transited through Denmark in the last 14 days will be denied entry by Border Force upon arrival.”

“The decision to act quickly follows the release of further information from health authorities in Denmark reporting widespread outbreaks of coronavirus in mink farms, with a variant strain of the virus spreading to some local communities.”

As well as new arrivals from Denmark, the government is examining the Passenger Locator Forms filed by arrivals to identify those who have been on Danish soil in the past two weeks.

“Anyone who has returned from Denmark within the last two weeks will be contacted to ensure they complete the self-isolation needed to ensure the virus does not spread across the UK,” the DfT said.

They will be asked to quarantine along with all other members of their households until 14 days after they were last in Denmark.

The statement added: "The UK government is working closely with international partners to understand the changes in the virus that have been reported in Denmark and we are conducting a programme of further research here in the UK to inform our risk assessments.”

The first travellers to be affected by the Danish ban were passengers booked on British Airways flight 811 from Copenhagen, which touched down at London Heathrow shortly before 8am on Saturday.

Second and third BA arrivals from the Danish capital are due at Heathrow at 11.40am and 7.15pm, as well as an SAS flight at 4pm.

In addition Ryanair has Saturday flights from Copenhagen due at Manchester at 5.25pm and at Stansted at 10.45pm.

Loganair was the first airline to announce the suspension of flights. The Scottish airline tweeted: "Due to travel restrictions imposed by government this morning regarding Denmark, Loganair has had to suspend its service between Aberdeen and Esbjerg from 9 to 22 November.

“Customers due to travel over this period will be contacted by email and offered either a refund or the opportunity to move their booking to another date.”

The travel ban and expanded self-isolation requirements will be reviewed after a week.

Separately, Denmark’s neighbouring countries, Germany and Sweden, have been placed on the UK’s no-go list from 4am on Saturday.

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