Sweden left out as Norway, Denmark to open shared borders

Copenhagen, May 29 (efe-epa).- Sweden is to be left out of a Nordic travel bubble due to its coronavirus health situation while governments in neighboring Norway and Denmark on Friday said they would allow residents to travel between the two countries from 15 June.

“Denmark and Sweden have a deep relationship and we want to continue having it in the future, but they are in different situations with respect to the coronavirus, which is important when it comes to making decisions about borders,” the Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen said.

She told a press conference she had a “strong desire” for her government to find a solution, whether it be done on a regional basis.

Mette refere, in particular, to the region around the Danish capital Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmo, which are connected by a bridge.

“We have spoken with the Swedish prime minister and health authorities. They understand that we are starting with a bilateral solution and are ready to continue discussing the situation,” Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, said at a press conference taking place simultaneously.

Swedish authorities had in recent days voiced displeasure at the prospect of Nordic countries excluding Sweden from plans to reopen borders, which have been closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sweden only prohibits entries from people outside the Schengen Area

Swedish health authorities have also suggested the country’s south as a possible starting point to normalizing regional travel, given that the epicenter of the outbreak in the country lies in Stockholm.

Unlike its neighbors, Sweden opted not to enforce a national lockdown to contain the spread of the virus and it has a higher fatality rate than Denmark, Norway and Finland, although it remains behind Europe’s worst-affected nations Belgium, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom in that regard.

Denmark will from 15 June also allow travel from Iceland and Germany, although they will be subjected to restrictions, such as an accommodation reservation of at least six days outside the capital.

Border agents may also require passengers undergo a Covid-19 test.

Other travellers from the European Union’s Schengen Area and the United Kingdom will not be able to visit Denmark until at least the end of August and Danes have been urged to avoid all but essential travel to countries other than Germany, Iceland and Norway.

Denmark closed its borders in mid-March but allowed visitors from other Nordic countries and Germany with family or second homes in Denmark to visit as of this week.

While the Danes will maintain some restrictions for Norwegan visitors, Oslo has decided not to reciprocate, according to Solberg.

Norwegian authorities also maintain their advice against international travel until at least 20 August, although those rules could change for neighboring nations as of 20 July.EFE-EPA


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