‘Toxic’ powder sent to US embassy: police

Police have confirmed that an envelope containing a “toxic and corrosive” white powder was sent to the US embassy in Stockholm on Wednesday, prompting the building to be evacuated for several hours.

'Toxic' powder sent to US embassy: police

Stockholm police duty officer Fredrik Nylen would not reveal what the powder was because of an ongoing investigation, but said it was “highly toxic and corrosive”.

”I can’t say exactly what it is at this time, but it’s been confirmed that it’s poisonous,” Nylen told the Expressen newspaper.

“We’re now trying to find out who sent it. You have to go with what you have and that means tracing the letter back in time.”

Police have classified the incident as a case of “spreading a poison or virus”.

Embassy staff discovered the powder in an envelope early Wednesday and alerted the police.

“No one suffered any injuries,” Nylen told the AFP.

Staff and members of the public were evacuated shortly after the discovery, which took place around 11.30am, but were allowed to return inside the building after several hours.

Embassy spokesman Jeff Anderson told AFP a “preliminary investigation” had been opened and that the evacuation was a precautionary measure.

“Everyone is fine. But when any type of security incident occurs we take it very seriously. It affects us all,” Andersson told the TT news agency.

Speaking with The Local earlier in the day, Anderson said there was no information about any threats issued against the US mission.

The US embassy in Stockholm has some 170 employees, although it remains unclear how many were in the building on Wednesday at the time of the incident.

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Travel: Germany downgrades Covid-19 risk status of USA

The United States is no longer classed as a "high incidence area" by Germany - it has returned to being a "risk area".

Travel: Germany downgrades Covid-19 risk status of USA
People walking in New York in May 2020. Photo: DPA

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) changed the risk classification of the United States on March 7th.

The US was previously classed as a “high incidence area” by the RKI. These are regions where the incidence is over 200 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents with a period of seven days.

However, now it’s a “risk area” – which is used by German authorities to describe a region with an increased risk of infection, usually above 50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in seven days.

Other factors are also taken into account, such as measures in place.

It means the travel requirements for people coming from the US to Germany have changed.

However, entry from the US is only permitted in a few narrow exceptions. Proof of urgent need to travel is required, German authorities say. You can find more information in the story below.

READ MORE: When are Americans allowed to travel to Germany?

What happens if I need to travel from the US to Germany?

If you are a German resident from the US, or fall into one of the exception categories, you still face strict testing and quarantine measures.

All travellers must have a negative Covid-19 test result at the latest 48 hours after they enter Germany. It must be presented to authorities if they request it.

Some individual airlines may however still say that travellers have to present a coronavirus negative test result before boarding is allowed. You should contact your airline before travel to check.

Both PCR tests as well as rapid anitgen tests are accepted if they meet the quality standards. Testing is still mandatory even if travellers are vaccinated or have recovered from a coronavirus infection. 

People returning from “risk zones” are required to self-isolate for 10 days after they arrive.

The quarantine can usually be ended with a negative coronavirus test result taken at the earliest five days after arriving in Germany.

However, states can differ on their travel regulations so check with your local authority before travelling.

Everyone entering Germany is also required to register online.

New “high incidence areas”

In the RKI’s latest travel classification list, Sweden, Hungary and Jordan are now classed as “high incidence areas” which means stricter testing and quarantine rules apply.

Areas of “variant concern” include Austria’s Tyrol region, the UK, Brazil, Portugal and Ireland. Even stricter rules apply for these regions.

You can find out more information about travel rules in our story below.

READ MORE: What you need to know about Germany’s latest rules on foreign travel