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Queues on Øresund Bridge as Danes return from long weekend

Danes returning from a long weekend in Bornholm and holiday cottages in Skåne caused a 2km queue on Tuesday morning, adding to Swedes' irritation at being cut out a Nordic tourism deal.

Queues on Øresund Bridge as Danes return from long weekend
There was a 6km queue after Pentecost on May 24. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT/Scanpix
Copenhagen police reported the queue in a tweet at around 8am on Tuesday.  
 
The temporary border checks on the small artificial island of Peberholm (Pepparholm in Swedish), where the bridge over from Sweden turns into a tunnel, makes it much slower to get across the Öresund, meaning queues build up quickly whenever there is heavy traffic. 
 
“The police are in place and are trying to get people through the checks as quickly as possible,” security officer Thomas Hjermind told Ritzau at 9am. “The queue is 2km long. But the traffic is moving.”
 
The long weekend around Whit Sunday and Whit Monday in Denmark has meant that many have travelled into Sweden — some to get the ferry across to Bornholm, others to stay in summer cottages in Skåne and elsewhere. 
 
Police told Ritzau that the queue was mainly formed of Danes on their way back from holiday in Sweden, together with a few Swedish cross-border workers. 
 
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Since Denmark imposed border controls on March 14, Danes have been able to travel to Sweden unhindered while Swedes have only been allowed into Denmark if they have a “worthy purpose”. 
 
 
Danes are supposed to go into quarantine for 14 days on their return, but this is voluntary and it seems that few do. 
 
Last Friday, Denmark's government announced that it was ready to allow tourists from Norway, Germany and Iceland into the country, but not those from Sweden.
 
“It seems absolutely crazy. Total double standards,” Christer Mårtensson, 61, from Hjärup in Skåne told Denmark's BT tabloid. 
 
“If the authorities are so afraid of the Swedes being infected don't they think that the Danes can take the infection back with them?” he added. 
 
“It doesn't make sense. It's pure populism, and it seems as if Mette Frederiksen is just trying to improve her popularity on at home.” 
 
While Sweden as a whole has higher infection rates than Denmark, Region Skåne has a lower rate
than in Copenhagen area. 
 
According to Sweden's Kvällsposten newspaper, there have been 17.8 coronavirus-related deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in Copenhagen, and just 13.3 in Skåne. 

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COVID-19

Covid deaths in Sweden ‘set to rise in coming weeks’

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has warned that the number of weekly Covid deaths is set to rise, after the number of people testing positive for the virus rose for the sixth week running.

Covid deaths in Sweden 'set to rise in coming weeks'

According to the agency, an average of 27 people have died with or from the virus a week over the past three weeks. 

“According to our analyses, the number who died in week 27 (July 4th-July 11th), is more than died in week 26 and we expect this to continue to grow,” the agency wrote in a report issued on Thursday. 

In the week ending July 17th (week 28), 4,700 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, a 22 percent rise on the previous week. 

“We are seeing rising infection levels of Covid-19 which means that there will be more people admitted to hospital, and even more who die with Covid-19,”  said Anneli Carlander, a unit chief at the agency. “The levels we are seeing now are higher than they were last summer, but we haven’t reached the same level we saw last winter when omicron was spreading for the first time.” 

While 27 deaths a week with for from Covid-19 is a rise on the low levels seen this spring, it is well below the peak death rate Sweden saw in April 2020, when more than 100 people were dying a day. 

The number of Covid deaths recorded each week this summer. Source. Public Health Agency of Sweden
A graph of Covid deaths per day since the start of the pandemic shows that the current death rate, while alarming, remains low. Photo: Public Health Agency of Sweden

Carlander said that cases were rising among those in sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and also elderly people given support in their own homes, groups which are recommended to get tested for the virus if they display symptoms. The infection rate among those given support in their homes has risen 40 percent on last week. 

This week there were also 12 new patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 in Sweden’s hospitals.  

The increase has come due to the new BA.5 variant of omicron, which is better able to infect people who have been vaccinated or already fallen ill with Covid-19. Vaccination or a past infection does, however, give protection against serious illness and death. 

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