STOCKHOLM – The Swedish Public Health Agency said on Saturday that people who have traveled to Norway should be tested for COVID-19 and avoid contact with others when they return to Sweden.

On its website, the Swedish Public Health Agency urged all visitors coming to Sweden who have stayed in Norway for the past 14 days to self-quarantine at home for at least seven days, to avoid contact with others as far as possible, and to test themselves as soon as possible after arrival in Sweden with follow-up test five days after arrival. The rest of the household should also stay at home waiting for test results.

The reason, the agency said, is that Norwegian authorities fear a major outbreak in the Oslo area of the new variant of coronavirus first identified in Britain.

“Norway has problems with the spread of this variant and … it is reasonable that we then also do our best so that we do not get an introduction of it in Sweden,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell at the Public Health Agency told Swedish Television on Saturday.

Saturday’s new recommendations on Norway followed similar requirements on people traveling from Brazil, Britain and South Africa. The Public Health Agency asked on Friday people concerned to be tested for COVID-19 and avoid contact with others when they return to Sweden.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published on Thursday a new risk assessment regarding new variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

According to the ECDC assessment report, the possibilities of the introduction and community spread of variants of concern in the European Union and European Economic Area are “very high” due to their increased transmissibility, which is likely to lead to an increased number of infections.

Latest statistics from Sweden’s Public Health Agency on Friday showed that 84 new deaths have been registered since Thursday, bringing the death toll caused by COVID-19 to 11,005 in Sweden. Meanwhile, 4,214 new confirmed cases have been reported since Thursday, taking the total of infected cases to 547,166.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in Sweden and other countries with the already-authorized COVID-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, 237 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 64 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan 22.

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