Denmark is to launch a coronavirus passport by the end of this month to help business travel, while Sweden will demand a negative test result from visiting foreigners as both Nordic countries grapple with the second wave of the pandemic.
Morten Bodskov, Denmark’s acting finance minister, said on Wednesday that a coronavirus passport would be launched in simple form by the end of this month, showing whether somebody had been vaccinated, while it would take another two to three months to develop a full digital passport.
The centre-left government in Copenhagen hopes the passport can be a first step in a return to normality after it introduced its second lockdown last month. It would allow business people and others to travel abroad as well as permitting the reopening of sporting events, concerts and other indoor performances.
“It is absolutely crucial for us to restart Danish society so that companies can get back on track,” Mr Bodskov added.
Sweden, which has been far harder hit by Covid-19 than its Nordic neighbours, will from Saturday demand a negative test result in the past 48 hours from any foreigner wishing to visit, said Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.
After eschewing a formal lockdown and other restrictions during the first wave of the pandemic, Sweden and its centre-left government has in recent weeks introduced a number of tougher measures common in other European countries.
It first recommended the wearing of face masks shortly before Christmas as well as the closure of schools for over-13s, while it changed its advice during the autumn and winter so that adults and children who live with somebody who tests positive are now recommended to stay home.
Sweden’s Covid-19 death rate per capita is three times that of Denmark, and about 10 times higher than Norway and Finland, but is lower than countries such as the UK, Belgium and Spain which have locked down multiple times.
The Swedish military will help patrol the country’s long border with Norway after a request from police.
Danish business welcomed the news of the coronavirus passports, which are also being introduced in Iceland.
Mads Nipper, the new chief executive of renewable energy company Orsted, told the Financial Times: “If we can ensure critical resources can travel to crucial geographies without quarantine, then that’s a positive,” he said. He added that “selfishly” he had a smile on his face at the thought that he could visit some of Orsted’s wind and solar farms outside Denmark, but argued it was most important to allow the company’s experts to travel.
The Danish government did not give full details of how the passport would work but said it would be developed in conjunction with business and cultural organisations, as well as in line with demands from the EU.
It would be something travellers could have on their mobiles to show they have been vaccinated, added Mr Bodskov. Other details, such as whether a person has tested positive for antibodies, could be added later.