The last weeks have been challenging. We have all been busy revising contingency plans to secure the safety of staff, family members and ourselves, while handling our business in a rapidly changing environment. Still, I would like to inform you that the Embassy continues to provide assistance and services to Swedish companies in Russia, while we at the same time step up our effort to provide information and support to Swedish citizens in Russia.
Russia, Sweden and many other countries have taken decisions with short notice to increase our resilience and our capacity to save lives in the face of the new Coronavirus outbreak. Some of these decisions have caused disruptions both to our private and professional life, but it is crucial that we follow these advices as an act of solidarity with those among us who are at risk.
In times of crisis we focus on providing up-to-date information and travel advise to Swedish citizens. This information, in Swedish, is available at https://www.swedenabroad.se/sv/om-utlandet-för-svenska-medborgare/ryssland/reseinformation/ambassadens-reseinformation/
We also recommend your Swedish staff and their families to register with the Embassy to ensure that we can reach them with important messages. This can be done at https://www.swedenabroad.se/sv/svensklistan/
In addition, we would recommend your Swedish employees to download the Application “UD Resklar” and to activate push-notifications.
For foreign citizens, the decision to restrict travel to Sweden starting 19 March and initially lasting for 30 days will have a significant impact. Information and updates on this situation and other visa related questions is available on https://www.swedenabroad.se/en/about-sweden-non-swedish-citizens/russia/.
With fewer and fewer international flights departing from Moscow, we have received many calls asking if there is a risk to get stuck in Russia, in particular following the announcement by Finland to close its land border to foreigners. Therefore, we would like to share the recent join statement of the Nordic-Baltic Foreign Ministers with you:
Nordic-Baltic Foreign Ministers meeting on 16 March 2020
The Foreign Ministers of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and the State Secretary of Norway discussed over the video conference today the response to the situation caused by the spread of COVID-19 corona virus.
The Ministers and State Secretaries emphasized the need to coordinate and co-operate closely and
- stressed the resolve to work together to ensure transit for EU and EEA citizens and permanent residents who are returning home, if necessary by establishing transit corridors;
- decided to establish a network of consular directors to exchange information, best practices and possible practical measures to help citizens and permanent residents of their countries returning home;
- acknowledged the impact on economies and stressed the importance of free movement of goods, including medical equipment, and keeping cargo corridors open to ensure that the internal market keeps functioning.
The developing situation has forced us to introduce our own measures. Some of the changes we have introduced include:
- Events involving physical gatherings have been postponed. For some events, we will try to offer alternative online formats including online meetings and webinars.
- If you need to contact us, we recommend using phone or email. If you need to come to the Embassy we recommend that you contact us in advance if possible. Arriving to the Embassy, we have introduced new hygiene procedures for all visitors. As the situation can change quickly, please follow updates on our homepage www.swedenabroad.com
- The staff physically in place at the Embassy has been reduced to minimize the risk for infection.
Despite these measures and the overall situation, I would again like to assure you that we remain ready to assist your business here in Russia. If you have any questions or needs, do not hesitate to get in touch with us by email or by phone.