STOCKHOLM, January 18 (Xinhua) – The Omicron variant is now spreading so fast in Sweden that previous requirements for entering the country are no longer useful, the government said on Tuesday.
Since Friday, more than 97,000 cases have been confirmed among the population of 10.4 million people, and COVID-19 is now spreading so fast that some doctors say tests are pointless.
“Travelers are no longer considered a special risk when it comes to contributing to the spread of Omicron in Sweden. The requirement for a negative test taken within 48 hours before arrival is therefore no longer considered a proportionate measure,” the government said.
As of Friday, foreign nationals aged 18 and over traveling to Sweden from countries within the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU / EEA) must either present a digital EU covid certificate, have tested negative within 72 hours before arrival, or prove that they have recovered from covid-19 in the last six months.
Foreign citizens traveling to Sweden from a country outside the EU / EEA are covered by the same requirements, but must also present a negative sample taken no later than 72 hours before arrival.
“In principle, everyone who has a cold is positive. Testing is therefore pointless, as it can take up to a week to get the test result. If you have a cold, you should assume that you are ill and should be self-isolated.” This is what Johan Styrud, chairman of the Stockholm Medical Association, tells Swedish Radio.
According to the latest statistics released by the Swedish Public Health Agency on Tuesday, the cumulative number of infections is now approaching 1.7 million. Last week, the agency estimated that there would be around 700,000 to 1.1 million new infections by the end of January.
At the same time, 82.9 percent of people aged 12 and older had received two doses of a vaccine on Tuesday, while 37.7 percent of those aged 18 and older had also received a booster syringe.