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Danes reopen borders to 3 countries, with strings attached



COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Friday her country will reopen its borders next month - with strings attached - to residents of neighboring Germany, as well as Norway and Iceland, as Denmark accelerates its lockdown easing.

But people from the rest of the world will effectively have to wait until after the summer.

The borders with Germany, Norway and Iceland will open on June 15 but ”with restrictions,” Frederiksen told an online news conference, including no stays in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

“Visits, strolls in the capital is ok but not overnight stays,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said.

And for the rest of Denmark, visitors will have to document that they will stay for at least six nights, Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said.

“So far, we have done well as a country," Frederiksen said. "We have the infection under control. We can feel an optimism spreading in the country. And also an impatience, which is totally understandable."

“But we must underline that we are not over the corona crisis,” she said.

A decision as to whether to reopen the border to fellow Scandinavian country Sweden — which has reported one of the highest mortality rates in the world with 4,350 fatalities, and lies across a narrow strait from eastern Denmark — has been postponed until after the summer, Frederiksen said.

The same applies to Denmark's 26 sister countries in Europe’s ID check-free travel zone, known as the Schengen Area.

Sweden’s relatively soft approach to combating the virus has attracted international attention. Large gatherings were banned but restaurants and schools for younger children have stayed open. The government has urged social distancing, and Swedes have largely complied. Authorities in Sweden have been criticized — and have apologized — for failing to protect the elderly, and nursing home residents.

Conversely, Denmark imposed an early lockdown on March 11, closing schools, cultural institutions, public offices and private businesses. Since then things have gone so well that the first measures have now been reversed.

According to official figures, 11,400 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Denmark and fewer than 600 others have died.

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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