Copenhagen – Denmark says it is barring entry to residents of South Africa due to fears over the spread of a new strain of the Covid-19 there.
Denmark has not recorded any cases of the new variant, which was detected by South African authorities in mid-December and has since been found in a number of other countries.
The South African strain and another which has emerged in Britain are said to be more infectious versions of the virus, and have prompted widespread concern.
Denmark’s decision came into effect Wednesday and will last until 17 January.
“This means that foreigners residing in South Africa generally will be refused entry to Denmark during this period,” the justice ministry said in a statement late on Tuesday.
The only exceptions will be for child care, family visits and for people who are sick or dying, and on submission of a negative test for the coronavirus less than 72 hours old, and for the transport of merchandise.
Denmark’s ambassador to South Africa, Tobias Elling Rehfeld, in a series of tweets, said the measures were necessary, adding that there was a “clear intention to do away with the restrictions as soon as the situation allows”.
Due to the concerns related to the spread of the newly identified South African coronavirus variant, South Africa will temporary with effect from today and for now until the 17th January be moved to the “red category” in the Danish travel advice/1
— Amb. Tobias Elling Rehfeld (@DKAMBinSA) January 6, 2021
Denmark, which has been under a partial lockdown since mid-December, has almost 90 cases of the new British variant.
It has already barred entry to arrivals from Britain except for Danish nationals and permanent residents, who must present a negative virus test.
Authorities said on Tuesday they were toughening coronavirus restrictions and urged people to avoid social contacts.
“Stay at home as much as you can, don’t meet people outside your household, those close to you,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference.
So far Denmark has suffered 1420 deaths and almost 173,000 coronavirus cases among its 5.8 million people.