Swedish minister concerned over Finland travel restrictions

Infection rates and overall death tolls are much higher in Sweden than other Nordic countries, leading to misgivings about how soon to fully open the borders.

File picture of Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde / Credit: government.se

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde says she’s concerned that travelers from her country might not be allowed to travel freely to other Nordic countries as restrictions begin to ease up.

Linde gave an interview to TT Swedish News Agency where she said other countries have the “wrong picture” about the coronvirus situation in Sweden.

New data suggests that Sweden had the highest per-capita coronavirus death rate in Europe over a rolling seven day average between 12th and 19th May. Sweden currently has an overall death rate of 376 people per million population – whereas in Finland the number is 55 deaths per million population.

Linde says there are no grounds for excluding Sweden when travel restrictions between Nordic countries are opened up and early on Thursday she tweeted “appreciate our good Nordic cooperation. Long constructive telephone calls with my Foreign Minister colleagues on issues related to Covid-19.”

Previously, Linde had said that when borders start to open up, that “the EU must not have discriminatory rules for different countries.”

Finland’s Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) has previously expressed her worry about the virus situation in Sweden.

Last week Finland eased some restrictions in the northern border with Finland, and it means Swedes can cross the border for essential journeys or work without having to go into quarantine when they get here.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have created a ‘Baltic bubble’ which allows their citizens to cross back and forth for any reason at all, provided certain conditions are met such as not having been in contact with an infected person.

Maria Ohisalo indicated last week that she could consider if Finland joined a Baltic travel bubble.

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