Sweden gives green light to vaccinated tourists from some countries

The Swedish government has taken the next step in slowly opening up for vaccinated travellers from outside the EU.

Sweden gives green light to vaccinated tourists from some countries
Sweden's non-EU entry ban, which is in effect until October 31st, is getting another couple of exceptions. Photo: Erik Simander/TT

The government on Thursday decided that the EU Commission’s list of approved vaccine certificates – i.e. certificates that are legally treated as equivalent to the EU’s own Digital Covid Certificate – will apply in Sweden, too, reports the TT news agency.

The Swedish decision currently includes certificates issued by North Macedonia, San Marino, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and The Vatican – but it could be extended to more countries in the future. Sweden intends to approve vaccine certificates as and when they are approved by the EU.

“This should be seen as a step in gradually and responsibly reopening travel to Sweden for vaccinated people from other countries,” said Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg.

The decision means that people who live in countries on the EU Commission’s list and who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to travel to Sweden without entry restrictions or test requirements, as long as they can show proof of vaccination.

The EU Commission is expected to add more countries to the list soon, including the UK. The US is more complicated due to different certificates being used in different states, reports TT.

Sweden on Thursday also updated its list of countries exempt from the non-EU entry ban. This means that tourists from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Japan and Serbia are no longer exempt from the ban, but tourists from Uruguay are exempt. This is also in line with the EU’s recommendations.

The government’s decision will come into force on September 20th. It will also change the rules slightly for those who have to show a negative Covid-19 test on the border: the test can after that date be up to 72 hours old rather than 48 hours, reports TT.

The EU has also previously recommended that member states include exemptions to their entry bans for travellers from non-EU countries who are fully vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine, but Sweden has not yet taken this step.

Under current Swedish travel rules, entry from most non-EU countries is not permitted unless the traveller falls into one of several exempt categories. Those categories include all Swedish residents and EU citizens, as well as people travelling for urgent family reasons and certain business travel, for example.

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Swedish police launch investigation into Arlanda Express derailment

Police are treating the derailment of an Arlanda Express airport train last week as suspicious, investigating the event under the crimes "causing bodily injury" and "creating danger to another".

Swedish police launch investigation into Arlanda Express derailment

There were 67 people on board the train, which departed Stockholm Central station at 4.20am on May 27th, derailing 14 minutes later, injuring two people.

Public broadcaster SVT reports that there were known issues on the section of track where the train derailed, according to documents seen by its journalists.

A rail employee carrying out a routine inspection on the tracks two weeks prior to the incident wrote in a report on May 9th that they had discovered cracks in the junction where the derailment later occurred, SVT reports.

The police and the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority (Haverikommissionen) have both launched investigations into the incident.

“There were passengers and staff on the train when it derailed,” detective sergeant and leader of the investigation Robert Björk told SVT. “Everyone who was on the train was at risk of being injured.”

Arlanda Express trains have been cancelled since the incident, with repairs expected to last until around June 3rd.