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Sweden, Norway and Denmark Have Ditched COVID-19 Restrictions


This week, Sweden joined neighboring Scandinavian nations Norway and Denmark in moving towards a post-COVID future by lifting nearly all of its pandemic-related social restrictions, and welcoming travelers from the European Union (E.U.), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland without any vaccination or testing requirements.

Tourists from other areas will have to wait until the current ban on non-essential travelers from third countries expires on March 31. Sweden currently lists the U.S. as one of its “approved” countries, which means it qualifies for an exemption to the ban that allows American travelers who can supply a vaccination certificate and negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival to visit. Of course, the usual entry requirements, such as a valid passport and visa, still apply.

But, this week’s announcement will effectively end all social restrictions that had been in place within Sweden itself. Restaurants and bars are no longer required to close by 11:00 p.m., and patrons no longer need to present vaccination certificates to enter such establishments. Gone also are mask-wearing mandates on public transportation and capacity limits placed on large indoor events.

Incredibly, the Swedish government will no longer require people who test positive for COVID-19 to report their results, so the nation will no longer have updated data on infection rates. Private healthcare companies will still provide testing for those needing negative test results to travel abroad, but state-funded testing programs have shut down.

Norway recently eliminated quarantine restrictions for inbound foreign travelers while continuing to require international visitors to provide proof of full vaccination or prior recovery from COVID-19, or a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 24 hours before their initial departure. Last week, Norway also began easing many of its own regulations, although social distancing guidelines and mask-wearing in busy indoor settings are still recommended.

Denmark became the first European nation to lift all of its COVID-19 restrictions on February 1. Travelers from all over the world can now enter the country with proof of vaccination or prior recovery from the virus, without having to undergo testing or quarantine. It has also scrapped digital COVID-19 passports at indoor venues, and ditched the call for social distancing and face masks in public settings (except in hospitals or nursing homes).

“Two years into the pandemic, populations in most countries have reached high levels of immunity, from vaccines or natural illness”, said Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist at the University of Roskilde, according to Lonely Planet. “This is how it ends, judging from what we have seen with historical pandemics”.

For the latest insights on travel to Sweden, check out the guide below:

For more information, visit visitsweden.com.


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