Regional coronavirus measures now apply in Halland, Jönköping, Kronoberg, Stockholm, Sörmland, Uppsala, Skåne, Västra Götaland, Örebro and Östergötland – ten out of Sweden's 21 administrative regions.
In terms of population, much more than half the country is covered by the new rules, because the 11 regions not yet affected are mostly less densely populated parts of Sweden.
The exact measures vary slightly depending on region and you can read more about what rules apply to your region here. In Kronoberg and Sörmland (you may also see the region referred to as Södermanland, as it is also called), the new recommendations come into effect immediately on November 5th, and urge everyone to:
- If possible refrain from having physical contact with other people than those you live with. That includes among other things a recommendation against organising or attending a party or similar social occasion. You should also avoid certain kinds of activities if they cannot be carried out without physical distance to others, such as contact sports or health or beauty care that is not medically justified.
- Refrain from being in indoor environment such as shops, shopping centres, museums, libraries, swimming pools and gyms, with the exception of for example grocery stores and pharmacies.
- Refrain from taking part in meetings, concerts, shows, sports training, matches or competitions. This does not apply to sports training for children and young people born 2005 or later.
- Businesses, organisations, and workplaces should also take measures to ensure that visitors or employees are able to follow the local coronavirus recommendations. This could include limiting the number of visitors and making sure staff can work from home.
These measures initially apply until November 26th, but could be extended further depending on the state of the spread of the virus.
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The recommendations, issued by the Public Health Agency after discussions with regional health authorities, stress that necessary physical contact, such as hospital visits or medical treatment, is still OK.
“By avoiding physical contact, we mean that you should not socialise with others at a distance of 1.5 metres, and it is especially important to avoid this kind of contact that lasts longer than 15 minutes,” Karin Tegmark Wisell, head of the Public Health Agency's department for microbiology, told the biweekly press conference on Thursday.
Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms, however mild, should avoid all close contact with others.
A total of 141,764 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, according to the latest available data, and the figure has been on a steep increase since mid-October, after beginning to climb in mid-September.
Ninety Covid-19 patients are currently being treated in intensive care in Sweden – fewer than during the peak of the outbreak in spring when more than 500 patients were in intensive care, but a serious increase compared to September. Intensive care patients with Covid-19 have now increased by more than 30 in one week alone.
“I want to remind everyone, and not just those covered by the stricter recommendations, the whole country needs to understand the importance of the situation: if we don't manage to reduce our social contacts, if we don't manage to stick to the recommendations, we will not be able to keep down the sharp rise we are now seeing in cases,” Tegmark Wisell said, warning that this would have serious consequences both for the healthcare sector and for individuals' health.