14:25 GMT20 January 2021
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    The idea of travel bubbles, or travel corridors, is gaining traction with governments around the world as a way to restart international travel while limiting the risk of spreading the virus.

    Norway and Denmark said on Friday they will open up tourism between their two countries next month, but will maintain restrictions for Swedes, as reported by Reuters

    Sweden, unlike its Nordic neighbours, did not impose a lockdown and more than 4,000 people have died from Covid-19 there - far more than elsewhere in Scandinavia.

    During news conferences taking place simultaneously, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said most restrictions would end on June 15.

    “We can’t open too suddenly, that would jeopardise everything we’ve accomplished,” Norway’s Solberg told a news conference.

    Denmark is also allowing tourists from Germany and Iceland to visit. All foreign visitors will need to book at least six nights accommodation before arriving and they will not be allowed to stay in the capital Copenhagen, where most of the country’s COVID-19 cases are.

    Danes can travel to those two countries too, without having to go into quarantine on their return.

    Tourists from Sweden will still not be able to visit, with Denmark’s Frederiksen telling journalists that the two countries were in different places when it came to the coronavirus.

    On Tuesday, Swedish 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.

    Meanwhile the two largest opposition parties in Sweden have called for an independent commission to probe the country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Guardian reports. 

    The conservative Moderate Party and the populist Sweden Democrats on Friday said they wanted a commission in place before the summer, French news agency AFP reports. The prime minister, Stefan Lofven, a Social Democrat, has repeatedly expressed support for a commission but has said he would appoint one after the pandemic was over.

    Despite criticism from overseas and some domestic public disquiet, there has been broad political unity over Sweden’s softer approach to the outbreak, but most parties have agreed on the need to examine the government’s crisis management.

    Sweden, which has had the largest death rate in the Nordic countries has failed to protect its elderly from the illness, with more than three quarters of the dead residing in nursing homes or receiving at-home care. A commission would also be likely to examine the country’s economic response to the crisis, and its slow roll-out of testing for the illness.

    COVID-19, tourism, Scandinavia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark
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