STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — Sweden’s government announced Thursday that it would be requiring negative COVID tests to allow entry for travellers arriving from China, describing it as a precautionary measure.
“The Swedish government has this morning decided to impose temporary travel restrictions for trips from China,” Health Minister Jakob Forssmed told a press conference.
Travellers will be required to show a negative test result regardless of vaccination status but some, including Swedish citizens and residents of Sweden and of the European Union, will be exempted, he said.
The requirement will go into force from Saturday.
“The purpose of the requirement for a negative test is to delay the potential introduction of new virus variants,” Forssmed said.
Sweden’s Public Health Agency earlier this week asked the government to draw up the measure, citing “uncertainty” about which viral variants could be circulating in China.
On Wednesday, a group of EU experts “strongly” urged member states to require tests from China, following a meeting initiated by Sweden, which took over the rotating EU presidency on 1 January.
Within the European Union, Italy and Spain had already imposed COVID test requirements for arrivals from China, and Germany announced Thursday it would also require it.
From Thursday, France has also required passengers travelling from China to present a negative test result.