Sweden has announced new restrictions on many foreigners hoping to enter the country from outside the European Union amid the spread of coronavirus, but 'asylum seekers' will be exempt from the border controls.
Following the EU Commission's call on member states to impose a travel ban on foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland, officials in Sweden agreed to halt "unnecessary trips" into the country for at least 30 days - with some exceptions.
“EU Member States have supported a call from the Commission to take measures to temporarily halt unnecessary trips to the EU,” the Swedish government explained in an statement.
“The purpose is to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus. The coronavirus is an international concern that requires coordinated action. The Government has therefore decided to heed the call and issue a temporary entry ban in line with the Commission's recommendations.”
A variety of exemptions are in place, enabling passage for health care professionals, personnel transporting goods, aid workers, as well as "persons in need of international protection or who have other humanitarian reasons."
"The right to asylum is not affected by the decision," the government's statement makes clear.
Sweden had not closed its borders or schools as of Tuesday, making it one of the last countries in Europe to avoid taking such measures.
The new travel ban went into effect on March 19 and will last at least 30 days.
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