Sweden rolls out new travel restrictions ahead of Christmas holidays

Sweden rolls out new travel restrictions ahead of Christmas holidays
Police checks on the border between Denmark and Sweden in early February. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Sweden is set to introduce travel restrictions from the Nordic countries ahead of Christmas over concerns of a rising number of Covid infections.

From December 21st, people travelling to Sweden from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland will be required to show a valid Covid pass, said the government on Thursday.

“We’re seeing an increased spread of infection in Europe but also in our neighbouring countries, and in Sweden a Covid pass is currently required for entry from all countries apart from the Nordics,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told Swedish newswire TT.

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Under current rules, everyone travelling to Sweden needs to show either an EU vaccine certificate or a vaccine certificate from a so-called “approved” country, alternatively a negative test no older than 72 hours or proof of recovery from Covid-19 – the exact rules depend on which country you’re travelling from, and some categories of travellers are exempt from the rules.

Today, everyone travelling from Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland is also exempt from the entry rules – which until now has meant that many non-EU nationals who are banned from entering Sweden directly have been able to do so via one of the Nordic countries.

But from December 21st, the Covid pass rules will apply to the Nordic countries too.

Sweden currently has the lowest rate of new Covid-19 infections in the Nordics. It has one of the lowest testing rates, but it also has a comparatively low number of hospitalisations. That said, the number of new cases is on a sharp increase in Sweden, too.

Swedish Health Minister Lena Hallengren and Public Health Agency director-general Karin Tegmark Wisell spoke about the new entry restrictions at a press conference on Thursday morning. They added that the Public Health Agency, with immediate effect, urges everyone who travels to Sweden from any country is advised to get tested for Covid-19 as soon as possible after arriving, even if you’re vaccinated.

Border commuters only need to get tested once a week, and other people who cross the border frequently – such as children who move between parents on opposite sides of the border – are also exempt from the recommendation to get tested every time they travel to Sweden. Children under the age of six are also exempt from the testing recommendation.

The government has been preparing new legislation that would extend Sweden’s vaccine pass scheme to venues such as restaurants and long-distance trains, but this is still going through the legislative process and there was no news about it at the press conference.


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