Saturday 3/6/21

Sweden adds Norway to entry ban over new virus strain

The ban enters into force at midnight on Sunday and runs until 14 February.
A general view of Stockholm. Photo: David Mark.

Sweden is banning entry from Norway after an outbreak of the British mutation of the coronavirus in the Oslo region, a cabinet member said on Sunday.

The ban enters into force at midnight on Sunday and runs until February 14, Mikael Damberg, minister for home affairs, told a press conference after a Cabinet session.

Sweden previously introduced a similar ban for Britain and neighbouring Denmark due to the virus variant, initially detected in Britain, which is considered more transmissible.

Bans affecting Britain and Denmark were extended until February 14, he added.

Swedish citizens were exempt from the entry ban as well as people who live or work in Sweden, and people with "imperative family reasons," Damberg said.

Sweden's Foreign Ministry meanwhile advised against all non-essential travel to Norway.

Norway's government on Saturday ordered the temporary closure of most shopping venues in 10 municipalities in the Oslo region, including Oslo.

Gyms, pools, shops

The temporary closure also affected gyms, swimming pools and sports centres. Exceptions include grocery stores, pharmacies and petrol stations.

Public events, with the exception for funerals, are prohibited until January 31.

Almost 1 million people live in the 10 municipalities affected by the Norwegian government decision. They were urged to work from home where possible, avoid all non-essential travel and limit contacts outside their own household.

The shop closures could lead to Norwegians travelling to Sweden and contribute to an increased spread of infection, Damberg said.

Sweden's Public Health Agency on Saturday recommended that all travellers who have been to Norway during the past 14-day period self-isolate for seven days on arrival in Sweden and take a coronavirus test as soon as possible after arrival.