Sweden prepares ban on entry from Norway over new Covid strain

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Restaurant owners and their staff protest against restrictions due to the corona (Covid-19) pandemic, outside a resturant in central Stockholm, Sweden, on Jan. 14, 2021. Serving alcohol at restaurants after 8 pm is not allowed until Jan. 25th, and a maxumum of four guests are allowed to sit together. Photo: Carl-Olof Zimmerman / TT / code 12050 *** SWEDEN OUT ***
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Thomson Reuters

Sweden plans to introduce a temporary ban on entry from Norway, it said on Saturday, due to the spread of a new mutated form of the coronavirus in the neighbouring country.

Norway's capital Oslo and nine nearby municipalities earlier in the day imposed some of their toughest lockdown measures yet after an outbreak of the more contagious coronavirus variant, first identified in Britain.

Sweden's health authority earlier on Saturday recommended that travellers from Norway self-isolate for at least a week and test for Covid-19 upon entry to Sweden.

Concern over the new variant means travellers from Britain have been banned from entering Sweden since December.

“The government is also working on introducing an entry ban for Norway to reduce the risk of contagion. The decision will taken shortly,” a spokesman for Swedish interior minister Mikael Damberg said in a text message.

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“The government is taking these actions due to the spread of the British mutation of the Covid-19 virus in Norway," he said.

Norway has 55 confirmed cases of the virus variant that has already spread widely in Britain, according to Norwegian health authority data. Damberg's spokesman said Sweden has the same number of confirmed cases of the variant.

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