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How many UK arrivals have been turned away by Swedish border police?

Fifty-four travellers from the UK, including 26 British nationals, have so far been denied entry by the Swedish border police in 2021, according to new statistics.

How many UK arrivals have been turned away by Swedish border police?
UK arrivals have to be able to show a negative coronavirus test. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Brits now have to prove they have the right to live and work in Sweden in order to travel to the country freely, and if they are travelling from the UK they and other foreign nationals additionally have to be able to show an authorised – and negative – coronavirus test, no older than 72 hours.

At least half of the Brits who have been stopped on the border so far this year (between New Year's Day and Monday afternoon) did not have a valid coronavirus test, according to figures from the Swedish border police, reported by the TT news agency on Tuesday.

But several of the British nationals who were denied entry to Sweden after arriving on a flight from the UK to Landvetter Airport in Gothenburg on Sunday told The Local they had negative tests issued by the UK's national health service NHS. Some of them had to return back to the UK, while others refused and were eventually allowed into Sweden. Police told The Local on Monday that they would accept tests issued by the NHS.

The decision to tighten travel restrictions against the UK, which comes on top of travel rules changing for Brits as a result of the end of the post-Brexit transition period, was taken due to the spread of a mutated form of coronavirus, which first appeared in London and Kent. It is reported to be more contagious than other strains, but based on what scientists know so far, does not appear to cause more serious illness.

But there appears to have been a lot of confusion over which coronavirus tests are accepted by Swedish authorities. According to border police, the test should have come from “an authorised laboratory”; it does not state so explicitly on their website, but police confirmed to The Local on Monday that they are using a list of private test providers authorised by the UK government as a reference; find a full list of these on gov.uk.

“I am very concerned to hear that UK nationals resident in Sweden have been refused entry into the country,” British ambassador Judith Gough told The Local on Monday.

“It is right that travellers from the UK should be subject to public health measures, following the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19 in the UK – the UK takes its public health responsibilities seriously, and was quick to notify the international community of the newly discovered variant. We have also increased our own restrictions in the UK,” she added.

“The British Embassy in Stockholm has been in regular contact with the relevant Swedish authorities over the last week and requested that any measures be clear, well-communicated and appropriate. It is clear that there have been teething problems with the new system over the weekend, and we are asking the Swedish authorities to provide greater clarity and consistency for UK nationals, who wish to return home to Sweden.”

A press spokesperson for Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg, whose office is behind the travel restrictions from the UK, declined to comment when approached by The Local. “As this concerns individual cases I have to direct you to the authority that is responsible for applying the regulation. Government representatives neither can nor should comment on how regulations are applied,” his spokesperson said in an email.

The Local has requested comments from the police regarding the incident at Landvetter Airport.

Member comments

  1. The article says “But there appears to have been a lot of confusion over which coronavirus tests are accepted by Swedish authorities” and then provides a link to a list of approved test providers. However, this only partially answers the point about “confusion over which coronavirus tests are accepted”: Heathrow, for example, offers three different types: PCR, LAMP, and Rapid Antigen. Which of these are accepted?
    https://www.heathrow.com/at-the-airport/fly-safe/covid-19-test

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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