Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark are just some of the latest countries that are part of the European Union and the Schengen area that have decided to ease entry rules, at least for travelers from other EU and Schengen countries.
Restrictions were removed mainly on three factors. First, the Omicron variant is a milder version of COVID-19 and is less worrisome. Second, citizens are tired of the ongoing restrictions, and third, these countries have come to the conclusion that travel restrictions do not prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Among the most recent countries to take such a step is Sweden, which, as of today, February 9, is allowing unrestricted entry to all travelers from EU and EEA countries, including those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have not. against COVID-19. They have contracted the virus in the past, too.
When announcing the decision on February 7, the Swedish government said the move was part of work to phase out infection control measures against COVID-19, TheSchengen.com reports.
The government also said: “The decision follows an assessment by Sweden’s Public Health Agency that entry restrictions are no longer a proportionate infection control measure,” adding that removing these restrictions would create great relief for many travelers, especially for those who work and live in the northern border areas.
However, the country is set to maintain existing entry restrictions for travelers from third countries, at least until the end of March.
Similarly, Finland also ended all internal border controls on February 1, in line with the assessment of the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare that “travel did not play an important role in the development of the epidemic in Finland and that internal border controls could no longer be justified on public health grounds.”
According to restrictions on travel from third countries, the current measures will remain in place until February 14, for now, but may be extended further.
On the other hand, Norway has canceled its obligation to pre-departure testing of arrivals after its authorities confirmed that the travel restrictions did not help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
>> Norway eliminates border testing requirements for all travelers
Other EU countries have also eased entry restrictions, notably by removing the pre-entry test obligation, based on a recommendation from the EU Council published on January 25.