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TRAVEL NEWS

Sweden extends entry ban for non-EU/EEA travellers until spring

Sweden has extended its border restrictions until the end of March for non-EU arrivals, and removed visitors from Argentina, Australia and Canada from the list of exemptions.

Sweden extends entry ban for non-EU/EEA travellers until spring
File photo of border police checking passports at Arlanda Airport. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The government on Thursday extended Sweden’s current entry rules for EU/EEA arrivals until February 28th, and March 31st for people travelling from other countries.

This means that people travelling to Sweden from non-EU/EEA countries cannot enter the country unless they are covered by one of a series of exemptions from the entry ban. Such an exemption could be living in a so-called “exempt country”, having a valid Covid vaccine pass issued by an “approved country”, or being a resident of Sweden.

Some of the people covered by an exemption will still have to show a negative Covid test to enter Sweden, unless they are exempt from this too (for example if they have a vaccine pass from an approved country or are long-term residents of Sweden).

You can read more about the difference between exempt and approved countries in The Local’s guide, but in brief:

“Approved countries” are countries where vaccine certificates have been approved as being equal to an EU-issued certificate, and fully vaccinated travellers with certificates issued by these countries can travel freely to Sweden for any reason, including tourism or to visit friends and family even if the visit is not classified as urgent.

“Exempt countries” are countries whose residents are no longer subject to the travel ban but whose vaccine certificates have not been approved, so they need a negative test.

Sweden on Thursday removed Argentina, Australia and Canada from the list of exempt countries, which means people from these countries are no longer exempt from the entry ban just because they live there, but need to be covered by another exemption as well.

“The amendments are the result of an update of the EU recommendations regarding travel into the EU from third countries, based on information from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control,” said the Swedish government in a statement.

For people travelling to Sweden from EU/EEA countries, the extension of the entry ban only means that they will continue to have to show an EU Covid certificate (with proof of vaccination, negative test or recovery – unless they’re exempt) or an equivalent.

When you travel from another country to Sweden, it is always the entry regulations of the country that you enter from that apply. Therefore, make sure to check the rules for entering Sweden from the last country you will enter on your way to Sweden, if you will be transiting.

The decision to extend the border restrictions comes a day after Sweden announced plans to start easing domestic Covid restrictions from February 9th, if the ongoing Omicron outbreak has peaked by then.

The above information was correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. Please be aware that we are not a government authority and cannot issue any guarantees about whether or not you will be able to travel to Sweden. We always advise readers to also consult the official information on the Swedish border police’s website HERE and HERE before travelling.

If you have any questions, you are always welcome to contact our editorial team at [email protected]. We may not be able to reply to every email, and we cannot always advise on individual cases, but we read all emails and use them to inform our future coverage.

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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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