Norway Covid rate higher than Sweden’s so far this month

Norway Covid rate higher than Sweden's so far this month
The border between Norway and Sweden. Photo: janpjens/Flickr.com
The rate of coronavirus infection in Sweden has been lower on average than that of Norway over the past fortnight, raising hopes that the border controls between the two countries could soon be dropped.
According to data submitted to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Norway has registered 23.9 cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days, while Sweden has registered only 23. 
 
“This is good news that gives hope that we can open the borders, Camilla Stoltenberg, Director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, told the country's VG newspaper. 
 
She asserted, however, that Sweden's case would still have to fall below the official threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 before Norway would drop all travel restrictions. 
 
“We're not considering separate rules for Sweden. There should be the same rules for all the Nordic countries and preferably for the whole of Europe,” she said. 
 
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Many Norwegians own cabins and second houses in Sweden, and many have also in the past crossed the border to shop for alcohol, sweets and other goods which are cheaper than at home. 
 
Stoltenberg said it remained to be seen if Sweden's case numbers would fall further or see a resurgence similar to those seen in many other European countries.   
 
“We do not know when [the borders will open],” she said. “It depends on whether they still have a favourable situation in the future.” 
 
 
Throughout April, May, June and July, Sweden's case-rate was far above that of Norway, resulting in a death toll nearly twelve times higher. 
 
Stoltenberg said that the encouraging trend in Sweden might result from higher immunity within the population, but cautioned that this remained uncertain. 
 
“Immunity can have something to do with it, and it can be good news,” she said. “Sweden wants more immunity, but we do not know how big a role it plays in reducing the spread of infection.”
 
Currently only six of Sweden's 21 regions are below Norway's threshold, allowing their inhabitants to travel to Norway for leisure purposes without needing to quarantine for ten days.

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