Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news on Friday

Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news on Friday
Health Minister Lena Hallengren, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Public Health Agency director Johan Carlson. Photo: Regeringen / TT
Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Coronavirus business support extended until the end of the year

Sweden's support packages for business owners and sole traders affected by the coronavirus will be extended until the rest of the year, the two parties represented in Sweden's government and their two legislative partners wrote in Aftonbladet on Friday morning. The full details of the extension have not yet been announced.

The measures include short-term layoffs, deferment of certain taxes, and financial support for sole traders and companies that have lost revenue or had to adapt their business as a result of the crisis. If you are an affected business owner, you can find more information on or the Swedish government's website.

Swedish vocabulary: to extend — förlänga

File photo: Anna Shevets/Pexels

Local visitor bans can now be introduced in Sweden's retirement homes

The Swedish Public Health Agency will have the option to introduce local bans on visits to elderly care homes, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced at a press conference on Thursday.

A national ban on visits was in place between April and October, and the agency's director Johan Carlson said that the new option for local measures was intended as a less blunt tool which could be introduced based on the local spread of infection and different homes' ability to handle things like distancing and safe visits. Another difference in the new measure is that spouses would still be allowed to visit.

Swedish vocabulary: elderly care home — äldreboende

Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT


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All of Sweden now subject to stricter local coronavirus measures

The northern region of Jämtland became the 20th in Sweden to have local coronavirus restrictions introduced by the Public Health Agency on Thursday. Because Blekinge region has introduced its own restrictions, that means all of the country's 21 regions are subject to stricter local measures.

Although not legally enforced, the measures are intended to apply to everyone. They vary slightly between regions and include requirements to avoid close contact with people you don't live with if possible, and, in most places, to avoid public transport and indoor environments like shops, museums and gyms.

On Thursday the measures in Stockholm, Västra Götaland and Östergötland, which had been set to expire that day, were extended to at least December 13th.

Swedish vocabulary: measure — åtgärd

The Åre ski resort, pictured last winter, is located in Jämtland, the final region to come under local restrictions. Photo: Pontus Lundahl / TT

Pubs and restaurants in Malmö can now offer takeaway alcohol

People living in Malmö will now be able to order alcohol together with food from restaurants for at-home dining. This is usually not possible under Sweden's strict alcohol laws which prevent the sale of alcohol for takeaway — only the state-owned monopoly Systembolaget may sell alcohol for consumption outside licensed premises.

But some municipalities have made an exception during the coronavirus pandemic which has badly hit bars and restaurants. Starting on Friday, venues with an alcohol licence will have to close no later than 10.30pm.

As well as Malmö, take-away alcohol is also possible in Växjö and Nacka.

Swedish vocabulary: alcohol — alkohol

Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad / TT

Swedish health agency: Limit Covid-19 tests for people without symptoms

Sweden's Public Health Agency has advised the country's regions to impose limits on who can get tested for Covid-19 in order to free up essential testing capacity.

It is Sweden's 21 regional health authorities that manage testing procedures, but on Wednesday the agency advised these authorities to ask residents to only apply for testing if they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms or are contacted by an infectious disease doctor through contact-tracing efforts, and to limit the number of tests an individual can have in a short period of time. 

Swedish vocabulary: to limit — begränsa

Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

Swedish Academy of Sciences calls for face masks to slow infection

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' Covid-19 expert group on Thursday recommended face masks as an “important measure” to reduce infection. The group's chair said “we need all the tools in the toolbox”.

At Thursday's press conference, the Public Health Agency's Karin Tegmark Wisell defended the decision not to recommend masks, saying that the few new studies that had come out on them recently had failed to conclusively demonstrate their effectiveness.

“There have been a few reports over the last few weeks. The interpretation of those reports shows clearly that the state of knowledge remains uncertain,” she said. “In Sweden we are trying as much as possible to use social distancing as the number one tool. We do not currently think recommending face masks is on the agenda.”  

Swedish vocabulary: tool — verktyg

Photo: Erik Simander/TT

Thank you for reading. If you have any thoughts or questions about life in Sweden, you are always welcome to email our editorial team at [email protected]

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