Sweden left out of Nordic border reopenings

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A Nordic rift has opened up over plans to ease coronavirus restrictions, with Sweden excluded from plans by Denmark and Norway to reopen their borders to tourists from some countries next month.

During news conferences taking place simultaneously on Friday, the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, and the Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg, said most restrictions would end on 15 June.

The leaders said they would allow tourists to travel between the two countries, and Denmark will also welcome tourists from Germany and Iceland. But tourists from Sweden will still not be able to visit, with Frederiksen telling journalists that the two countries were in different places when it came to the coronavirus.

On Friday Sweden’s public health authority reported a further 84 deaths from Covid-19. The country’s total death toll from the outbreak now stands at 4,350, about four times the combined total of the other Nordic countries. Sweden has chosen not to impose the kinds of compulsory lockdown measures imposed by its neighbours and elsewhere across Europe, instead opting for public health advice.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s foreign minister, Ann Linde, warned that excluding Sweden from moves to open borders across the Nordic region would be a political decision and not justifiable on health grounds. On Thursday, Norway said it would reopen its borders to business travel from all its Nordic neighbours.