STOCKHOLM, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Sweden on Monday announced that it's barring travelers from neighboring Denmark after the country reported a new and more infectious variant of the coronavirus first found in the UK.
The move came after Sweden suspended travel links with the UK following British Health Secretary Matt Hancock's warning that the new strain of the coronavirus is "out of control" there.
The ban was announced at a joint press conference held by Sweden's Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg, Foreign Minister Ann Linde, and the Public Health Agency's director-general Johan Carlson.
The Denmark travel ban, they said, is to avoid the risk that Danes travel to Sweden to do their Christmas shopping or to spend time in the Swedish southern city of Malmo, at a time when Denmark has also imposed stricter COVID-19 restrictions.
The entry bans will not affect Swedish citizens returning from Denmark or the UK, but other arrivals will be turned away. The foreign ministry has also issued a travel advisory against all non-essential journeys to the UK, Linde said.
Carlson told the news conference that so far Sweden has not detected the new coronavirus strain within its borders, but he added that such cases may well exist since the new variant has been found in a number of European countries.
Apart from the UK and Denmark, cases have been reported in Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The Public Health Agency has urged anyone who has traveled to Sweden from the UK since Dec. 12 to get tested as soon as possible and to stay quarantined for up to seven days after arriving in Sweden. They should also get a second test on day five and follow all existing recommendations, according to the Agency.