Sweden to allow unrestricted domestic travel
All health recommendations and anti-crowding rules remain in place
- June 10, 2020 16:00
Sweden will relax its domestic travel recommendations on 13 June, allowing anyone without Covid-19 symptoms to travel freely within the country for whatever reason, as long as health and safety precautions are taken. Previously, the government has advised against all non-essential journeys by car which take longer than two hours.
The move was announced last week by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. He cautioned that the situation in Sweden was still serious, the danger was not over, and the relaxation did not mean that life was returning to normal.
Sweden’s approach to the pandemic
With 41 000 confirmed cases and 4 500 reported deaths, Sweden has been battered by the coronavirus outbreak much harder than its Nordic neighbours because it has never enforced stringent lockdown measures. But over the past month, the number of corona patients in hospital and intensive care units has come down, leading Löfven to conclude that the country was "heading towards an improved situation".
Embracing a controversial model of self-discipline and mutual confidence, the Swedish government has steered through the crisis with public health recommendations instead of outright restrictions. In view of the domestic travel relaxation, recommendations regarding social distancing and hand hygiene, as well as anti-crowding rules for catering establishments and a ban on public events of more than 50 people, remain in place.
So, avoiding crowds and keeping a safe distance from others will be a key guideline to travellers within Sweden this summer even if, as the Public Health Agency assures, the risk of infection is significantly lower in the open air than inside. This is especially important for people in risk groups, such as those aged over 70, who are still advised to avoid close contact with others.
Waiting for tourists to come
The news that domestic travel will go ahead with no strings attached has come as a relief to people on Gotland, the island off Sweden’s east coast, whose population relies heavily on tourism for sustenance, Radio Sweden reports. So far, Gotland has been spared the worst of the pandemic: the region has the smallest number of confirmed cases in Sweden to date at only 88, with six deaths.
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