COVID UPDATE: Sweden bans travel from Norway

COVID UPDATE: Sweden bans travel from Norway
A deserted Oslo, Norway. Photo: Terje Pedersen/NTB
The Swedish government announced a travel ban on entry from Norway on Sunday, to reduce the risk of the new variant of coronavirus spreading.

“The ban applies from midnight until February 14th and can be extended if necessary,” Interior Minister Mikael Damberg said at a digital press conference on Sunday afternoon.

The entry ban from the United Kingdom and Denmark is also extended until February 14th.

At the same time, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is reintroducing the advice against unnecessary travel to Norway. The decision is valid until further notice.

In December, Sweden announced a ban on travel into Sweden from both the UK and Denmark due to the new variant, that was due to initially last a month.

Exceptions from the government's decision apply to those who work in Sweden or have urgent family needs, as well as to freight traffic.

On Saturday January 23rd, the Norwegian government introduced a series of very strict restrictions in Oslo and nine more municipalities due to an outbreak of a more contagious coronavirus variant, first identified in Britain.

This variant already exists in Sweden. So far, about 50 cases have been confirmed, the vast majority of them are linked to people who have been abroad, according to the Swedish Public Health Agency.

The government's decision on the Norway travel ban follows a recommendation from the Swedish Public Health Agency.

“It is an exceptional decision, not least considering the long land border between the countries,” Interior Minister Damberg said.

He added it was now important to closely follow the development of how the mutated virus has spread in Norway and pointed out the capacity to detect virus mutations had been built up in Sweden but needed to be stepped up further:

“We have not received any reports of any major clusters in Sweden,” he said.


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