Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Sweden maintaining entry ban for most non-EEA residents until at least Aug. 31 due to COVID-19 activity. Some domestic disruptions remain.

  • Alert Begins: 31 Jul 2020 10:22 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Authorities in Sweden are maintaining international entry restrictions as of July 31 as part of the country's efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Most individuals who are not citizens or residents of the the European Economic Area are prohibited from entry through at least Aug. 31. In line with EU recommendations, authorities are also permitting entry to travelers from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, the UK, and Uruguay. Exceptions to the ban will also be made for students, healthcare workers, frontier workers, diplomats, freight workers, transiting passengers, and people who have urgent family matters. The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against all nonessential travel to countries outside the EU and EEA until Aug. 31.

Within Sweden, individuals are permitted to travel without restriction, provided they are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Travel providers will implement strict hygiene and social distancing measures on their services. Shops, catering establishments, and cultural sites are open, though they are mandated to limit the number of customers and apply social distancing measures. Gatherings of more than 50 people remain prohibited.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the Swedish government are relatively more lenient than actions taken by other regional governments in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

As countries relax blanket restrictions across Europe, authorities could begin to reintroduce sporadic, targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks. Such measures could apply to local government areas, neighborhoods, or specific facilities, including schools, factories, or accommodation and office blocks. Mandatory social distancing procedures in public places and on public transport, as well as widespread voluntary "self-policing" by residents, will assist in reducing the potential for contagion, reducing the necessity for a large-scale, blanket reintroduction of significant restrictions.

Postpone travel if affected by travel restrictions. Confirm flight status before checking out of accommodation and departing for the airport. Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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