In a press release dated September 6, the Swedish Ministry of Justice announced a ban on American travelers to the Nordic nation. This follows a European Union recommendation dated August 30, which strongly urged member nations to exclude visitors from nations experiencing high rates of Covid-19.
In addition, Sweden’s existing non-essential travel ban from a long list of other nations will continue through October 31. Sweden’s Ministry of Justice defines essential travel as entry of guests who work in healthcare research, care of the elderly, medical care and related critical purposes.
Travelers in the process of returning to Sweden with existing permits may reenter according to their documentation. The Swedish Ministry of Justice issued one important caveat: soon, vaccinated travelers will be exempt from any travel bans.
The August 30 decision by the European Union cited increasing rates of Covid-19 infections from countries previously identified as epidemiologically safe. The newly added nations on the travel ban include the United States, Israel, Lebanon, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia.
Other countries also followed the EU’s recommendation, including Italy, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.
Cases of Covid-19 have taken a turn for the worse in the United States over the past month. As of September 1, 2021, the 7-day moving average of cases soared 123% higher compared to one year ago.
Cases during the week ending September 1 increased 1,217% compared to June 18, 2021. Epidemiologists, infectious disease physicians and health researchers blame the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases on the spread of the delta variant of the virus.
The delta variant spreads twice as quickly as the original strain of Covid-19. Other factors related to the explosion of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. include a lifting of preventive measures, decreased vaccination rates and the return to in-person school for primary, secondary and college students.