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Friday, July 3, 2020

Norway refusing to open border to mainland Sweden

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The Norwegian government is now opening the borders to all Nordic countries except for Sweden.

From the 15th of June, people from Greenland, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and the Faroe Islands will be able to travel to Norway without having to enter quarantine.

Earlier this year Norway closed it’s borders in an attempt to stop the spread of the corona virus pandemic. The Norwegian strategy has been a success, as they managed to control the pandemic with only 8 613 infections and 242 deaths to date.

However, Sweden opted for a herd immunity strategy which has not worked well. To date, Sweden has 49 684 infections and a whopping 4 854 deaths from corona virus, seeing some of the highest death rate per capita in the world.

In the European Economic Area, the last week Sweden has had by far more corona virus infections per capita than any other country. Sweden being at 52.9 infections per 100 000 inhabitants compared with the number 2 country Portugal which has only 19 infections per 100 000 inhabitants.

Yesterday Sweden saw a record number of 1 474 new corona virus infections, with today’s numbers almost matching those of yesterday.

The ongoing high number of infections in Sweden means that Norway is keeping their borders closed to neighbouring Sweden, with the only exception being the Swedish island of Gotland.

This is devastating for the Swedish tourist industry. Last year Norwegians had over 1 million overnight visits in western Sweden.

“We had over 60% Norwegian guests staying with us, so a closed border has a big impact and has had it since it was closed.” says Lena Kempe, CEO at Daftö resort in Sweden.

Strömstad, a Swedish city situated near the Norwegian border lost 95% of their revenue during Easter.

When Sweden announced it’s herd immunity strategy, some people said it would be good for Swedish economy. However, now that Sweden is one of the countries with the worst infection rate in the world, the economy is hurting to Sweden being isolated from other countries.

Even though Norway is now opening for travel to the Nordic countries, the government is still advising people from travelling except if it is absolutely necessary.

Norwegians can still travel to Sweden, but they will then have to go into quarantine upon returning to Norway.

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Peter Imanuelsen
Peter Imanuelsen
Swedish journalist and political commentator. Founder and Editor-in-chief at Times of Sweden. Peter Imanuelsen has been reporting on the situation in Sweden for years and is more commonly known as PeterSweden on social media.

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