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Unwelcome. Denmark and Norway exclude Sweden from tourism safe zone

People gather for a drink at an outdoor bar in Stockholm, Sweden, Wednesday April 22, 2020 despite the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. (Anders Wiklund/TT via AP)

PortandTerminal.com, May 29, 2020

Norway and Denmark say they will open up tourism between their two countries from 15 June but will exclude their neighbor Sweden.

STOCKHOLM – Sweden’s experiment with handling the COVID-19 pandemic failed and now its neighbors have been forced to exclude them as they reopen regional tourism in June.

Norway and Denmark will allow tourists to travel between the two countries from mid-June, their governments announced on Friday. Border crossings with Sweden though, where the number of COVID-19 infections is dramatically higher, will remain restricted.

What happened?

Unlike its neighbours Denmark and Norway, Sweden chose not to impose a stick lockdown when COVID-19 took hold in Europe. Sweden shunned tough lockdown measures, keeping most schools, restaurants and shops open.

Now Sweden is paying the price for that risky decision.

While Denmark and Norway successfully reigned in their COVID-19 infections, Sweden did not and now has the highest death rate per capita in the world.

Danish PM Mette Frederiksen said Denmark and Sweden were in different places regarding the pandemic.

Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said “we can start gently opening up journeys from Denmark to a small group of neighbouring countries where the infection with Covid-19 is considered to be best under control”. Sweden is not considered a country where things are under control though.

At a joint video news conference, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg expressed similar concerns saying that “we can’t open too suddenly, that would jeopardise everything we’ve accomplished”.

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