Denmark introduces rapid Covid-19 tests at German borders

Smaller land border crossings with Germany are to offer travellers rapid Covid-19 tests on crossing into Denmark, while a rapid test centre is also available south of the border.

Denmark introduces rapid Covid-19 tests at German borders
Photo: Frank Cilius/Ritzau Scanpix

People at smaller border crossings on Denmark’s southern border with Germany are to be offered a rapid Covid-19 test so they can comply with travel restrictions.

The South Denmark health authority announced that it has reached agreement with a private contractor, Falck, to offer rapid tests for people travelling from Germany to Denmark.

Foreign nationals not resident in Denmark can also be tested for free if they can show proof they work in Denmark, the regional health authority said.

As such, rapid tests are available at the Falck test centre in German border district Handewitt. Opening times can be found here.

A mobile test centre will also offer rapid tests at border crossings at Pebersmark, Sæd and Møllehus. Operating times here.

The deal between Region South Denmark and Falck provides for free rapid tests for foreign nationals who live outside of Denmark if they can prove they work in Denmark. Others must pay 299 kroner (€40).

“It is important for us that we can offer a good solution to the many commuters who cross the border each day to work in Denmark,” Region South Denmark director Kurt Espersen said in a statement.

“If they take a rapid test south of the border, they can take a PCR test once they have entered (Denmark) which is then valid for 7 days until it must be renewed,” he said, referring to rules which allow people living in border regions to enter Denmark with a negative Covid-19 test from within the last seven days, if they have a valid reason for travel.

That exception aside, current rules require foreign, non-resident nationals entering Denmark to present a negative Covid-19 test no more than 24 hours old.

The rules have already resulted in large numbers being refused entry at borders with Germany.

READ ALSO: Denmark to test all positive Covid-19 swabs for infectious variants

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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.