Norway and Denmark will reopen their borders to each other as coronavirus restrictions are eased, but not to their lockdown-free Scandinavian neighbour Sweden.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced on Friday Denmark will reopen its borders from June 15 to residents of Germany, Norway and Iceland but ‘with restrictions’, while Norway said it would do so for Danish visitors.
Norwegian, German and Icelandic tourists entering Denmark will have to prove they have booked at least six nights in the country and will not be able to stay overnight in Copenhagen.
But both Norway and Denmark said they will not open up to Swedish visitors due to its high coronavirus infection rate.
Norway and Denmark will reopen their borders to each other as coronavirus restrictions are eased, but not to their lockdown-free Scandinavian neighbour Sweden. Pictured, people sit in a restaurant in Stockholm on May 29
Sweden’s rolling 7-day average death rate is an astonishing 11 times higher than the world average of 0.49 deaths for every million people over the same period
Socially distanced parishioners attend a church service in Denmark which has delayed a decision as to whether to reopen the border Sweden until after the summer
Denmark has delayed a decision as to whether to reopen the border Sweden until after the summer.
‘So far, we have done well as a country,’ Frederiksen said. ‘We have the infection under control. We can feel an optimism spreading in the country. And also an impatience, which is totally understandable.’
‘But we must underline that we are not over the corona crisis,’ she said.
Sweden, which refused to impose a lockdown and kept its borders and schools open, has seen 5.59 deaths for every million people per day on a rolling seven-day average in the week to May 29.
The rate is an astonishing 11 times higher than the world average of 0.49 deaths for every million people over the same period.
Sweden’s death rate per capita is almost ten times higher than Norway and four times more than Denmark.
Large gatherings were banned but restaurants and schools for younger children have stayed open.
The government urged social distancing, and Swedes have largely complied.
Sweden’s lack of lockdown has caused its neighbours to deny its request for co-ordinated Nordic action. Pictured, people gather at a park in Stockholm on May 29
Sweden’s death rate per capita is almost ten times higher than Norway and four times more than Denmark. Pictured, people walk in Drottninggatan, Stockholm, during rush hour
But authorities in Sweden were criticised – and have apologised – for failing to protect the elderly, and nursing home residents.
But Sweden’s lack of lockdown has caused its neighbours to deny its request for co-ordinated Nordic action, despite Swedish ministers asking Denmark, Norway and Finland to act together in Nordic co-operation.
Other countries including Greece, Estonia and Latvia have also refused to open up to Swedish visitors.
Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg said Oslo will enter talks with Sweden and Finland but stressed it would look closely at the infection rate.
Danish authorities are also in conversation with Sweden and were considering opening up to certain parts of the country, such as the southern region of Skane, the
Norwegian, German and Icelandic tourists coming to Denmark will have to show they have booked at least six nights in the country and will not be able to stay overnight in Copenhagen.
Greece, Estonia and Latvia have also refused to open up to Swedish visitors due to their refusal to impose lockdown. Pictured, people gather at a park in Stockholm
In Sweden, large gatherings were banned but restaurants and schools for younger children stayed open. Swedes largely complied to the government urging social distancing. Pictured, people play chess at a Stockholm park
But the scale of the different Covid-19 infection rates was shown on Friday when Sweden announced 84 new deaths, bringing its total to 4,350.
Norway and Denmark both reported no new deaths on Friday, standing at totals of 237 and 568 individually.
Mikael Damberg, Sweden’s minister for home affairs, urged his neighbours not to ‘weaken Nordic co-operation’. He added there was a ‘common vision that the Nordic region shall be one of the world’s most integrated regions. We will not get there by closing borders’.
Finland’s ministers have instead looked at trying to join the Baltic travel bubble between Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
But Sweden’s GDP figures have proved it was one of the few European countries to see economic growth this year.
The GDP increased by 0.1 per cent compared with the fourth quarter. But the country’s economy is expected to contract by around 7 per cent this year.
Denmark estimated its economy would shrink by 5.3 per cent this year.
Sweden announced 84 new deaths on Friday, bringing its total to 4,350, as Norway and Denmark both reported no new deaths. Pictured, people sit in a restaurant in Stockholm
Sweden’s GDP figures have proved it was one of the few European countries to see economic growth this year, but the economy is expected to contract by around 7 per cent this year
Denmark was the second country in Europe, after Italy, to impose a strict nationwide lockdown, on March 11, and the quick response has been credited with keeping reported infections and deaths comparatively low.
Norway went into lockdown the next day, and has been among the European countries quickest to reopen.
Norwegian schools will return to normal next week, with no social distancing regulations.
Denmark have also seen zoos and theme parks reopening alongside non-essential shops, hairdressers and restaurants.
‘By reacting quickly, we put ourselves in a good situation,’ Allan Randrup Thomsen, professor in virology at Copenhagen University, told Associated Press.
‘We know that everything went well by reopening the (lower classes in) schools and nothing came from there,’ he said, but cautioned: ‘Later on, we re-opened more or less everything simultaneously, making it more difficult to find out if something went wrong and where it happened.’
Danish hospitals have started winding down their coronavirus measures, but can ramp up intensive care units again if needed.
Sweden has the highest death rate per capita of any country in the world this week, data shows
- The country had 5.59 deaths for every million people on a rolling seven day average in the week to May 29
- That rate is 11 times higher than the world average of 0.49 deaths, stats show
- Sweden shunned lockdown, keeping most schools, restaurants and shops open
By Alice Cachia
The country, which refused to impose a lockdown, has seen 5.59 deaths for every million people per day on a rolling seven-day average in the week to May 29.
That rate is an astonishing 11 times higher than the world average of 0.49 deaths for every million people over the same period.
Sweden’s seven day rolling average is higher than any other country, followed by
It is also greater than other countries that have been hugely affected by the virus, including the USA (2.98), Belgium (2.49), Italy (1.55), Russia (1.02), and France (0.98).
Despite the rolling average, Sweden does not have the highest coronavirus death rate per million people since the outbreak started.
The country’s death toll rose to 4,266 on 28 May
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven gesticulates while speaking at a press conference about the situation of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, at the government headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden today
The latest figures for 29 May show that title goes to San Marino, which has seen 1,238.55 deaths for every million.
Behind is Belgium (810.04), Andora (660.07), the UK (557.36) and Italy (548.15).
France sits in sixth place, with 439.11 coronavirus deaths for every million people since the crisis started, and Sweden is behind with 422.41.
While figures for Spain have not yet been released for 29 May, data for the previous day shows the country has a death rate of 580.03 for every million people.
It is also worth noting that all of the countries listed – particularly with reference to the rolling seven day average – have experienced the peak of the virus at different stages.
Latest figures for the Sweden reveal a total of 35,727 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 4,266 deaths as of 28 May.
Sweden’s strategy to battle coronavirus has been largely based on voluntary measures regarding social distancing and basic hygiene.
At the same time the Scandinavian country kept schools open for children under the age of 16, along with cafes, bars, restaurants and businesses.
The number of confirmed cases climbed to 35,727 as of 28 May
Their approach has been both criticised by some as a dangerous experiment gambling with people’s lives, but also pushed as a future model by the World Health Organization.
A recent study found that based on 1,100 tests carried out across the country, just 7.3 percent of Stockholm’s population had developed antibodies by late April.
The antibody study sought to look into the potential for herd immunity, a situation where enough people in a population have developed immunity to an infection to be able to effectively stop that disease from spreading.
‘It is a little bit lower (than expected) but not remarkably lower, maybe one or a couple of percent,’ Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told a news conference. ‘It squares pretty well with the models we have.’
But the WHO has warned against pinning hopes on herd immunity. It said in mid May the week global studies had found antibodies in only 1-10 per cent of the population, results in line with recent findings in Spain and France.
Local media have raised concerns that Swedes could be excluded from other countries as curbs on travel are relaxed, both in the Nordic region and elsewhere in Europe.
News that Cyprus will not permit direct flights from Sweden when it opens up on June 9, but will allow in flights from Norway, Denmark and Finland, was widely reported with public service broadcaster SVT running the headline ‘Swedes barred when Cyprus opens up’.
Jakob Elleman-Jensen, the leader of the opposition Liberal Party, said this month, ‘I certainly don’t think that we should wait opening the border with Germany until we can justify opening the border with Sweden’.
And today the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven revealed that on-site education for high schools will re-open from 15 June, having been closed since mid-March.