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Northern Europe Denmark and Norway close borders for everyone but ‘asylum seekers

The Nordic countries – some more than others – have started to put measures in place to combat coronavirus.

While Sweden, Finland, and Iceland still have open borders, Denmark and Norway have closed their borders – except for the so-called ‘asylum seekers’ – despite the fact that many of them have come from coronavirus infested areas in northern Italy, Danish daily newspaper Berlingske reports.

“Denmark cannot just close the borders for asylum seekers. We are bound to the Dublin Convention and it means that we must accept and grant access to Denmark for asylum seekers and then subsequently assess which country is responsible for processing the asylum application under the Dublin Regulation,” Louise Holck, Deputy Director at the Department of Human Rights told reporters from Berlingske.

According to Louise Holck, that assessment is not about maintaining the relationship with Germany in particular, from where many of the asylum seekers come from when traveling to Denmark.

Mattias Tesfaye, Denmark’s Minister of Immigration, says that police will drive the ‘asylum seekers to the Sandholm migrant camp.

“The whole community must try to avoid the spread of infection. That is why we have also taken a number of steps and initiatives in the area of ​​asylum. Normally, asylum seekers will travel by public transport from the border to Center Sandholm in North Själland,” Tesfaye said.

“But from now on, the police will be responsible for this transport. At Center Sandholm, all new asylum seekers will be checked for health, as well as special quarantine facilities available,” the immigration minister continued.

“Asylum seekers will, of course, be quarantined according to the applicable criteria, if needed. Fortunately, the number of asylum seekers is at a very low level now.”

More reasonable politicians like Peter Skaarup of the populist Danish People’s Party have criticized the government’s policy harshly
“This has developed into madness!” Skaarup told the news site Den Korte Avis.

“First, it is foolish not to allow the border closure to include asylum seekers, and especially now in the current situation of the danger of spreading infection,” Skaarup added.

“And secondly, using the police to drive asylum seekers from Southern Jylland to North Själland is quite a challenge, thus exposing the police officers to the danger of infection.”

Skaarup also aptly notes that it’s often nearly impossible to find out where the ‘asylum seekers’ have originated from.

No one can tell if they come from some of the hardest-hit areas. We often find that they either refuse to disclose where they come from or they have thrown away their passports,” Skaarup said.

In Norway, the government will not allow people without residence permits into the country for ten days, NRK reports.

But one group will still be allowed to enter: ‘asylum seekers’.

Voice Of Europe 
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