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Coronavirus: Sweden extends travel ban from Denmark

Sweden on Sunday announced an extension to the travel ban from Denmark until February 14th, over concerns of the new variant of coronavirus spreading.

Coronavirus: Sweden extends travel ban from Denmark
Illustration photo of Copenhagen airport. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix

The extension to the travel ban was confirmed at a digital press conference on Sunday January 24th, when the Swedish government announced a new travel ban on entry from Norway. The entry ban from the United Kingdom was also extended until February 14th.

On Saturday January 23rd, the Norwegian government introduced a series of very strict restrictions in Oslo and nine more municipalities due to an outbreak of the more contagious B117 coronavirus variant, first identified in Britain.

The British virus mutation already exists in Sweden. So far, about 50 cases have been confirmed, the vast majority of them are linked to people who have been abroad, according to the Swedish Public Health Agency.

“The ban applies from midnight until February 14th and can be extended if necessary”, Interior Minister Mikael Damberg said at the digital press conference on Sunday afternoon.

READ MORE: COVID UPDATE: Sweden bans travel entry from Norway

In December, the Swedish government announced a ban on travel into Sweden from both the UK and Denmark, due to the new coronavirus variant in the countries. The ban was initially due to last a month.

It was the first time during the pandemic that the Scandinavian country closed the border on one of its neighbours. 

Swedish citizens are exempt from the entry ban, as are non-citizens who live or work in Sweden, and people working in the transportation of goods.
 
The B117 coronavirus variant has previously been estimated to be between 50-74 percent more infectious than established forms of Covid-19.

It is expected to comprise 50 percent of all Covid-19 variants in circulation in Denmark by the middle of February, according to a new report issued by the State Serum Institute (SSI).

It has been traced to have first appeared in Denmark in November, but was reported to have become established in the south east of England in December.

READ ALSO: How could infectious Covid-19 variant impact Denmark's infection numbers?

 

 

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COVID-19

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden ‘to peak at end of September’

Sweden's Public Health Agency has warned of a new autumn wave of Covid-19 which it expects to peak at the end of September.

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden 'to peak at end of September'

According to both of the two new scenarios published by the agency on Monday, infection rates are set to rise steadily over the next month, something the agency said was due to a falling immunity in the population and greater contact between people as they return to schools and workplaces after the summer. 

“It is difficult to say how high the peak will be, but it is unlikely that it will reach the same levels as in January and February,” the agency’s unit chief Sara Byfors said in a press release. “The most important thing is that people in risk groups and those who are 65 years old and above get vaccinated with a booster dose in the autumn to reduce the risk of serious illness and death.” 

Under Scenario 0, the amount of contact between people stays at current levels, leading to a peak in reported Covid-19 cases at around 5,000 a day. In Scenario 1, contact between people increases by about 10 percent from the middle of August, leading to a higher peak of about 7,000 reported cases a day. 

The agency said that employers should be prepared for many staff to be off sick simultaneously at points over the next month, but said in its release that it did not judge the situation to be sufficiently serious to require either it or the government to impose additional infection control measures. 

It was important, however, it said, that those managing health and elderly care continued to test those with symptoms and to track the chain of infections, that people go and get the booster doses when they are supposed to have under the vaccination programme, and that those who have symptoms of Covid-19 stay home. 

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