All of Sweden’s regions are now subject to stricter local coronavirus measures

All of Sweden's regions are now subject to stricter local coronavirus measures
The Åre ski resort, pictured last winter, is located in Jämtland, the final region to come under local restrictions. Photo: Pontus Lundahl / TT
Sweden's Public Health Agency on Thursday introduced local coronavirus measures in Jämtland, which until that point had been the only region without the extra restrictions.

This means twenty of Sweden's 21 regions have introduced local restrictions put together with the Swedish Public Health Agency, while one region, Blekinge, introduced its own set of restrictions. 

The difference between the two types of restrictions is mainly semantic, with no legal enforcement of either set. However, the recommendations introduced by the Public Health Agency, called allmänna råd, have a stronger legal basis due to the Contagious Diseases Act. 

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The allmänna råd introduced in Jämtland are as follows:

  • If possible, avoid 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.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel. Travelling within or between regions could contribute to increased spread of infection because you often meet new people, which starts new chains of transmission. You should therefore, as far as it is possible, refrain from such travel. This recommendation is not intended to prevent people from, for example, going to work, studies/employment or healthcare which requires physical presence.
  • 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 came into effect immediately on November 19th and are initially in place until December 13th, but could be extended beyond that if necessary.

As well as introducing local measures in Jämtland, on Thursday the Public Health Agency also extended the measures already in place in Stockholm, Västra Götaland and Östergötland — which had been due to expire that day — until December 13th.

The restrictions in place in those three regions are similar those in Jämtland, but not identical. They do not include a specific recommendation to avoid unnecessary travel, but they do include recommendations to avoid spending time in indoor environments like shops, gyms and museums, and to avoid meetings, concerts, performances, sports training, matches and competitions.

In addition to these slightly varying local recommendations, everyone in Sweden is expected to follow national measures, which include working from home if possible, avoiding rush hour and choosing means of transport other than public transport if possible, and keeping distance from other people in public places.

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