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COVID-19

Sweden tightens restrictions for tourists from six countries including the US

Sweden's entry restrictions today come back into force for travellers from the US and five other countries.

a man in front of a plane at a US airport
Sweden has reintroduced the entry ban for US travellers. Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The Swedish government last week formally extended Sweden’s non-EU/EEA entry ban until October 31st, as The Local reported last week.

There are several exceptions to the ban including those travelling for specific reasons, as well as from certain countries, but six countries were on Thursday removed from the exempt list of “safe countries”: the United States, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and Northern Macedonia, based on a rise in Covid-19 infections in those countries. From September 6th, the entry ban applies to these countries, too.

EXPLAINED: Can non-EU travellers get to Sweden via Denmark?

That doesn’t necessarily mean all travel from those countries will be banned, as travellers may fall into another exempted category, such as travelling for urgent family reasons or if they have EU citizenship or a Swedish residence permit.

The decision to reimpose restrictions on these six countries came from an EU recommendation.

Q&A: Answers to your questions about Sweden’s latest travel rules

Sweden currently makes no distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers when it comes to travel from outside the European Union, but the government hinted that further exemptions for vaccinated travellers “resident in certain third countries” may be on the way.

“There are a number of countries with which Sweden has close relations. There, the government will now investigate the possibility of exempting fully vaccinated residents in certain third countries,” Interior Minister Mikael Damberg told the TT news agency on Thursday.

“I am thinking primarily of the United Kingdom, but also the United States, even though the United States is more complex and many states have very different rules.”

Neither he nor the government’s statement on Thursday gave any indication as to when such exemptions may be introduced.

Member comments

  1. I am confused because on Krisinfo, US is still in the exemption list and the website was updated on the 2nd. https://www.krisinformation.se/en/hazards-and-risks/disasters-and-incidents/2020/official-information-on-the-new-coronavirus/travel-restrictions

    This is what it says:

    “If you are a foreign national from a country outside the EU/EEA
    There is a ban on non-essential travel to Sweden from countries outside the EU/EEA. The ban applies to foreign nationals from countries outside the EU/EEA and will remain in effect until 31 October 2021. Certain individuals who have particularly urgent needs or who are going to carry out essential services in Sweden may be exempt.
    Foreign nationals who fulfil the requirements for an exemption are advised to get tested for Covid-19 when they arrive in Sweden.

    A number of countries are exempt from the entry ban. The decisive factor is whether you live in one of the countries, not if you are a citizen. Travellers to Sweden should therefore be prepared to provide documentation showing that they live in one of the aforementioned countries in order to be granted entry.
    Exempted travellers need to show results from a negative Covid-19 test no more than 48 hours old before entry.
    Currently exempt countries and terrirories: Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Macao, North Macedonia, Serbia, Taiwan, and the USA.”

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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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