Sweden bans entry from Denmark over new Covid-19 variant

The Swedish government has announced that it was banning the entry of travellers from neighbouring Denmark after the country reported a new and more infectious mutant variant of the novel coronavirus which was first found in the UK.

On Sunday, Sweden suspended travel links with the UK, just hours after British Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s warned that the new strain was “out of control”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Denmark ban on Monday was announced at a joint press conference held by Sweden’s Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg, Foreign Minister Ann Linde, and the Public Health Agency’s Director-General Johan Carlson.

The ban, they said, is to avoid the risk that Danes travel to Sweden to do their Christmas shopping or to spend time in the Swedish southern city of Malmo, at a time when Denmark has also imposed stricter Covid-19 restrictions.

The entry bans will not affect Swedish citizens returning from Denmark or the UK, but other arrivals will be turned away.

The Foreign Ministry has also issued a travel advisory against all non-essential journeys to the UK, Linde said.

Carlson told the news conference that so far Sweden has not detected the new coronavirus strain within its borders, but he added that such cases may well exist since the new variant has been found in a number of European countries.

Apart from the UK and Denmark, cases have been reported in Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The Public Health Agency has urged anyone who has travelled to Sweden from the UK since December 12 to get tested as soon as possible and to stay quarantined for up to seven days after arriving in the country.

They should also get a second test on day five and follow all existing recommendations, according to the Agency.