Sweden to restrict travel from Norway ahead of Christmas holidays

Sweden is set to impose travel restrictions on arrivals from the Nordic countries ahead of Christmas over concerns of rising Covid-19 infections. 

Pictured is a Norwegian border officer.
Sweden will introduce new rules for arrivals from the Nordics due to concerns over rising cases. Pictured is a police officer at Norway's border with Sweden. Photo by Petter Bernsten/ AFP

From December 21st, people travelling to Sweden from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland will be required to show a valid Covid certificate, reports Swedish news agency TT.

“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 TT on Thursday.

Under current Swedish rules, all arrivals must 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.

Currently, travellers from Norway and the other Nordics are exempt from those entry rules. 

But from December 21st, this rule will apply to everyone travelling from, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. 

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. The number of new cases is on a sharp increase in Sweden, however.

Norway saw 5,741 new Covid-19 cases registered on Wednesday, 482 more than the same day the week before. 

8,773 new Covid-19 infections in total were registered in Denmark on Wednesday, a new record for the pandemic

Additionally, Andersson said that Norwegian citizens and residents travelling to Sweden follow the rules that apply in Norway while in the country. 

“Do not move the party across the border,” Andersson said. 

On Wednesday Covid restrictions in Norway were tightened and a national ban on the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants was introduced, alongside the order for people to work from home. 

These measures were in addition to the reintroduction of social distancing and use of facemasks and a recommendation to cut down on social gatherings and have a maximum of 10 visitors at home.   

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SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

More than 3,700 flights where cancelled and 380,000 passengers where affected by the 15-day strike which hit Scandinavia's SAS airline last month, the company has revealed.

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

“We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected by the July strike,” Anko van der Werff, the company’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We are happy operations returned to normality again allowing us to start regaining our customers’ trust.”

According to the release, 1.3 million passengers travelled with the airline in July, which was still a 23 percent increase on the same month last year, when Covid-19 restrictions were still reducing tourism levels.

“In comparison with last month, the total number of passengers decreased with 32 percent and capacity was decreased by 23 percent, which was a result from the 15-day pilot strike,” the release read. 

Pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, went on strike for 15 days last month over pay, conditions, and the company’s refusal to rehire pilots laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic on the same terms as before. 

The strike, which cost the airline between €9m and €12m a day, was ended on July 19th, after which it took several days to get flights back to normal

Van der Werff said company said it would now continue putting in place its restructuring plan, SAS FORWARD, and push ahead with restructuring in the US, where the company has filed for Chapter 11. 

He said these would both “accelerate the transformation process that will lead to a financially stable airline, that will be able to deliver the service our customers are expecting”.