SHARE
COPY LINK

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Denmark’s regional trains to return to full passenger capacity

Regional trains in Denmark will be allowed to operate at full capacity for passenger numbers from Friday, May 21st. Seat reservations will still be required to take trains.

Denmark’s regional trains to return to full passenger capacity
Denmark's trains have been emptier than normal for some time due to coronavirus restrictions. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

As part of the latest update to Denmark’s planned easing of coronavirus restrictions, trains and buses will be permitted to allow more passengers on board. Both have been required to restrict capacity during the pandemic.

Although regional trains can return to full passenger numbers, the Intercity and ‘Lyn’ trains which connect major cities will remain limited, albeit at 70 percent of capacity rather than the current 50 percent.

The decision has been made in part due to the fact more people will begin to use the services as society in general returns to a more normal level of activity.

READ ALSO:

“The reopening of society also means a greater need to travel with public transport to and from work or school. That’s why we are now conducting a targeted easing of capacity limits, with focus on rail traffic,” transport minister Benny Engelbrecht said in a statement.

“Reopening must take place safely. That’s why it’s still important that we keep a distance when possible and remember hand disinfectant and face masks,” Engelbrecht also said.

Rail operator DSB’s head of information Tony Bispeskov called for passengers to cancel seat reservations – which will remain a requirement on regional and long distance DSB trains – if they do not need them.

The company has noted that unused reservations have caused trains to run with fewer passengers than reserved seats, resulting in a lack of bookable seats.

“We have seen up to one in four seats empty even though seats were reserved. That means people at the station have been unable to purchase the reservation needed to take the train,” Bispeskov said.

“We should remember that that we still have a pandemic and we don’t have standing passengers. Even though regional trains will increase to 100 percent, you can’t just squeeze in,” he added.

The political agreement for Friday’s easing of restrictions states that “restrictions on public transport will be adapted on an ongoing basis to follow the overall reopening”.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19 RULES

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.”

SHOW COMMENTS