Sweden was pretty much the only country in Europe that did not have any incoming travel restrictions from intra-bloc arrivals during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, when many countries were severely limiting who were allowed to enter.
However, Sweden starts to restrict arrivals to the country from this Saturday (February 6, 2021) through the end of March. Sweden requires a negative Covid-19 test (unclear which ones qualify) no older than 48 hours.
You can access Sweden’s page for Covid-19 information here (not yet updated with the statement released today.
The reason behind this restriction is to try to limit the spread of the British-mutation of the Covid-19 that is more potent, and it is unclear if the existing vaccines, which most of us haven’t received yet, are as efficient protecting against.
The testing requirement is not in place for citizens and residents of Sweden and those who travel to the country for family reasons or are younger than 18. Sweden also plans to allow work-related travel without tests.
Here’s an excerpt from the Local:
Swedish citizens as well as foreign residents in Sweden will be exempt from a new entry ban on arrivals without a negative Covid-19 test, said the government on Wednesday.
There is currently a ban on non-essential travel to Sweden from most countries outside the EU, and from Denmark and Norway, but there are certain exceptions, including for people who live or work in Sweden.
These rules are all still in place, and the new test requirement comes on top of that.
This means that even people travelling from another EU country will have to show a negative Covid-19 test, or be turned away. This has not generally been the case in Sweden at any point throughout the pandemic.
The new rules come into force on Saturday, February 6th, and the Public Health Agency is expected to issue new guidelines regarding what kind of tests will be accepted, but they should be no older than 48 hours. People younger than 18 will not have to get tested, and the rules will be more flexible for cross-border commuters.
Sweden is changing its approach to the Covid-19 pandemic that was first allowed to pretty freely run through the population. As a result, the number of deaths is much higher in the country than in the Nordic neighbors of Norway, Denmark, and Finland.
There is very little leisure travel taking place, and considering that many groups are excluded, residents and citizens, challenging to see how this reduces the potential spread of Covid-19 mutations.
Sweden has not yet clarified what Covid-19 tests are required, such as PCR-RT or antigen.