Sweden shut out of Covid-19 reopening by Norway, Finland, Denmark
- Sweden has been left out of border reopening agreements with Denmark, Finland and Norway.
- Its land neighbours are all allowing visits from some other nations, but none have included Sweden, which is geographically in the middle.
- Sweden took a controversial decision not to impose a formal lockdown, unlike most of Europe. As of early June the country had one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the world.
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As European countries press ahead with relaxing their borders, Sweden is being excluded by all three of its nearest neighbours.
Denmark, Norway, and Finland have all this week restored the ability for its citizens to travel from one nation to another. A patchwork of other reopenings are taking place in Europe at the same time.
However, despite Sweden being in the middle of the four Nordic nations, it is not included in the agreements due to its continuing struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.
Sweden, which has reported more than 51,000 cases of the virus in total, did not impose a lockdown or widespread testing. Instead, it imposed measures like voluntary social distancing, self-isolation of the sick, a limit on the size of a gathering, and closing some schools.
- Finland specifically cited the high rate of infections when excluding Sweden from its deal with Norway, Denmark, and other nations around the Baltic Sea, the Finnish edition of The Local news website reported.
Per The Local, Finnish interior minister Maria Ohisalo said: "Unfortunately the epidemic situation in Sweden is so bad that we are still not able to lift restrictions for Sweden." She said Finland would end its restrictions as as soon as possible.
As of early June, Sweden had one of the highest Covid-19 death tolls in the world proportionate to population, with 4,874 deaths reported so far.
The architect of its plan, Anders Tegnell, conceded on June 3 that if he had known more about the disease he would have proposed stricter measures, as Business Insider's Sinéad Baker reported.
- There are some exceptions to the exclusions within Nordic countries.
For example, visitors from Sweden with summer homes in Denmark can still go, according to Politico.
Denmark has only opened up fully to three other countries - Norway, Germany, and Iceland - and applied the same condition to visitors from Finland. Norway is allowing visitors from Sweden's Gotland region, Politico reported.
Across most of Europe's Schengen visa area - which includes non-EU countries like Switzerland - countries are opening their borders to each other, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Many are exercising similar caution with Sweden, according to Politico. Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Slovenia and many regions of Germany all either require 14-day quarantines for visitors from Sweden, or continue to ban them completely.
The UK is also frequently an exception to the new reopenings, Politico reported.
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