Shunned by its Nordic neighbors for its coronavirus strategy, Sweden says there are ‘wounds that will take time to heal’ – CNBC

People play chess at a park in Stockholm on May 29, 2020, amid the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND

The decision to exclude Sweden from the lifting of travel restrictions between Nordic countries Finland, Denmark and Norway, following the coronavirus pandemic, “has created wounds that will take time to heal,” the country’s foreign minister told CNBC.

A decision not to implement a strict lockdown like its neighbors has meant that Sweden, which has seen a far higher number of coronavirus cases and deaths, has been left out of an easing of travel restrictions between the countries.

Since Monday, citizens of Nordic nations can largely travel to and from each other’s countries for work and leisure purposes, but Swedes are still subject to restrictions due to a higher infection rate in their country.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde told CNBC Tuesday that she had “mixed feelings” about the Nordics’ attitude toward Sweden at the moment, and that the move to exclude her country could damage relations.

“On the one hand we have had an absolutely fantastic cooperation with the Nordic countries when it comes to the repatriation of our citizens … Sweden took home 8,600 Swedes from all over the world with the help of our Nordic friends and we also took 1,500 non-Swedes with our flights, so this has been a fantastic Nordic cooperation,” she said.

“But on the other hand … I think that those people that have been very used to working as
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