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Sweden extends travel ban for non-EU residents

Sweden has extended a ban on entry from outside the EU, four days before it was set to run out.

Sweden extends travel ban for non-EU residents
The entry ban is now in place until October 31st. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Sweden has had the entry ban in place since mid-March, in line with the EU's coronavirus recommendations, but has updated it several times. On Thursday the government again extended it from August 31st to October 31st.

The exemptions to the ban all remain in place. Those include people from the following countries, regardless of their purpose of travel (which means anyone, including tourists, from those countries can travel to Sweden):

  • EU/EEA, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City
  • Australia

  • Canada

  • Georgia

  • Japan

  • New Zealand

  • Rwanda

  • South Korea

  • Thailand

  • Tunisia

  • Uruguay

Other exceptions include for example people who are travelling for urgent family reasons, workers in key jobs, or people who are moving to Sweden. You can read a full list of exemptions here.

Sweden does not have any quarantine rules in place for foreign visitors and no proof of a negative coronavirus test is required. However, everyone is expected to follow coronavirus health and safety guidelines, such as social distancing and avoiding public transport, especially at busy times.

Border control remains a national competence and is not decided at EU level, so its decisions are not legally binding for member states, but Sweden generally follows the European Council's recommendations.

The above rules only apply to travel to Sweden, not from. For more information about the Swedish foreign ministry's recommendations against non-essential travel to some countries, read this article.

Across the world, long-distance couples have campaigned under the slogans #LoveIsNotTourism and #LoveIsEssential, calling on governments to make allowances for those in serious relationships.

In Sweden, the rules are complex, with the government saying unmarried partners of Swedish citizens and residents can enter the country, but only if they can prove they've met in person and that they intend to marry or enter a common-law relationship with their partner.

The Swedish government said earlier this month that there were “currently no plans to introduce a special exemption for people in a relationship (for example, boyfriend/girlfriend) with someone living in Sweden” but that it was “keeping the issue under review”.

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COVID-19

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden ‘to peak at end of September’

Sweden's Public Health Agency has warned of a new autumn wave of Covid-19 which it expects to peak at the end of September.

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden 'to peak at end of September'

According to both of the two new scenarios published by the agency on Monday, infection rates are set to rise steadily over the next month, something the agency said was due to a falling immunity in the population and greater contact between people as they return to schools and workplaces after the summer. 

“It is difficult to say how high the peak will be, but it is unlikely that it will reach the same levels as in January and February,” the agency’s unit chief Sara Byfors said in a press release. “The most important thing is that people in risk groups and those who are 65 years old and above get vaccinated with a booster dose in the autumn to reduce the risk of serious illness and death.” 

Under Scenario 0, the amount of contact between people stays at current levels, leading to a peak in reported Covid-19 cases at around 5,000 a day. In Scenario 1, contact between people increases by about 10 percent from the middle of August, leading to a higher peak of about 7,000 reported cases a day. 

The agency said that employers should be prepared for many staff to be off sick simultaneously at points over the next month, but said in its release that it did not judge the situation to be sufficiently serious to require either it or the government to impose additional infection control measures. 

It was important, however, it said, that those managing health and elderly care continued to test those with symptoms and to track the chain of infections, that people go and get the booster doses when they are supposed to have under the vaccination programme, and that those who have symptoms of Covid-19 stay home. 

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