Sweden to Shut Borders for Arrivals Without Negative COVID-19 Test… Except Asylum Migrants

Europe

While dispatching soldiers to assist the police in monitoring the national border and upholding the government’s entry ban due to a mutated COVID-19 strain, Sweden exempted asylum seekers from the new restrictions for humanitarian reasons.

Starting 6 February, all foreign citizens must produce a fresh negative COVID-19 test when entering Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has announced.

A negative COVID-19 test no more than 48 hours old will be required. The decision was made by the government at the request of the Public Health Agency due to the emergence of new, potentially more contagious coronavirus variants, national broadcaster SVT reported.

“The new virus variants are worrying”, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said at a press conference.

The same idea was echoed by Interior Minister Mikael Damberg.

One particular group that is spared the necessity of producing a negative COVID-19 test are asylum migrants. While immigration to Sweden has dropped markedly since the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic and related health restrictions across the globe, the Scandinavian country still took in nearly 13,000 asylum seekers in 2020. While this is seen as the lowest acceptance figure since the turn of the millenium, it is still more than its Nordic peers took in combined. Among other things, the restrictions don’t apply to people with “urgent family reasons” and people who must undergo surgery and other care that cannot be delayed.

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