In English: Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's televised speech to the nation

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In English: Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's televised speech to the nation
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: screenshot/Swedish government

This is the full transcript in English of Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's address to the nation over the coronavirus on Sunday evening.


There was no official English translation immediately available at the time of publication, so this is The Local's own translation of the Prime Minister's televised address to the nation at 7pm on November 22nd (translated quickly after the broadcast so we apologise for any errors). You can read the full speech in Swedish here.

Tonight I want to say a few words that I would like you to keep in mind as we head into the winter darkness.

This year, the world has changed before our eyes.

Early in spring, we faced a gigantic challenge in the form of a pandemic.

The new coronavirus forced us all to make big sacrifices.

We have had to give up so much of that we hold dear.

We have had to cancel or avoid so much of our daily life.

And tonight, late in November 2020, it is clear that it is going to take time before we can go back to normal.

That is why I am once again about to ask you for something very difficult but utterly necessary.


The little respite we got this summer and autumn is truly over.

Then, neighbours and friends could see each other outside and have a fika. We could meet our fragile relatives out in the fresh air.

Life was not as normal – but there were moments during beautiful summer days that almost felt like it.

In spring, many people said that despite everything it made life easier that the coronavirus hit during the lightness of March and not the darkness of November.

It is November now.

People's health and lives are still in danger.

And the danger is increasing.

More people are getting infected.

More intensive care beds are being used for treating seriously ill Covid patients. More people are dying.

Let us remember that more than 6,000 people in Sweden have already died with Covid-19. Let us remember that around each deceased person are people who have lost a beloved parent, a beloved child or a beloved friend.

Let us remember how overworked healthcare and social care staff were. And let us remember that they are still working hard, day and night, to save lives.

The things we do wrong now as a country, we will suffer for later. The things we do right, will give us joy later.

What we do now will affect what our Lucia celebrations will look like. What Christmas celebrations will look like. Who will still be there with us this Christmas.

It may sound harsh. It may sound brutal. But reality is exactly that harsh and brutal.


We know how to flatten the curve of infection.

We have done it before. We did it in spring.

Then, when the coronavirus reached our country, we agreed on taking responsibility.

We took responsibility for Sweden. We protected ourselves, our loved ones and people we don't even know.

We took responsibility and gave staff in healthcare and social care a chance to handle the acute crisis.

We did it together. That's our strength, Sweden's strength.

Too many have neglected the guidelines and recommendations this autumn.

But we are now seeing how people are starting to take responsibility again. How travels are decreasing and home-working increasing.

Keep going like that – and hold out.

But everyone must do more.

It's on you and me.


Keep up-to-date on the guidelines and recommendations where you are.

Only meet people whom you live with.

If you live alone, choose one or at most two friends to socialise with. But keep a distance.

Stay at home at the least of symptoms.

Wash your hands often and carefully.

And to you who are an employer: if you can, make it possible for employees to work from home.

All those things that you would like to do, but that are not necessary: Cancel. Postpone.

It will take time before we are through this. And until then, this is the new norm for all of society, for all of Sweden.

To you who feel that everything is dark right now, I want to say: the situation is not hopeless.

Sweden is being tested. But Sweden will stand firm.

Healthcare and social care is working, despite everything.

Houses and roads are being built, despite everything.

Our children are receiving an education and desire to learn, despite everything.

We should take the situation very seriously, but we should do so with restraint, firmness and courage.

To you who perhaps feel that this does not concern you, I want to say:

Even if you only get mild illness, you may still infect others. At a restaurant, at work, at a dinner party, on the bus or at the store.

A stranger you infect could get very ill.

A friend you infect could need care.

A grandparent you infect could die.

These are the people for whom you should make sacrifices. These are the people for whom you have to show decisiveness, self-discipline and a sense of responsibility.

When we are through this crisis, everyone should be able to remember how we helped each other.

Remember the solidarity. Remember the feeling of community and the feeling of doing the right thing. Remember how we pushed the spread of infection down and raised our country.

But then we have to show our unity and our sense of responsibility here and now.

And that it is stronger than the virus we must defeat.

Let's do this now.


For Sweden.


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Anonymous 2020/11/22 23:22
And one more note: The "remember the spring" narrative is not unique to Sweden, it's been used in various countries. But I think it can actually be contraproductive.<br /><br />Yes, people made huge sacrifices in the spring because they expected some kind of a reward. A lot of people thought they do the right thing today and it will lead to normal life. That hope is now gone. Remembering the spring is very depressing a demotivational because there's no perspective of improvement anymore. This is the way it is now and you can't change it by behaving responsibly anymore. For many people, this is a reason to give up and just get back to the normal life, accepting the risk.<br /><br />Not quite what government wants to achieve.
Anonymous 2020/11/22 23:18
Good speech. But I'm afraid that messaging is all over the place this autumn. In the spring there were clear and easy guideline that made sense. This time it all feels very complicated with lots of exceptions and other caveats. I'm a bit worried that it's becoming hard to follow and that combined with the overall Covid fatigue can be a dangerous recipe.
Anonymous 2020/11/22 20:49
Nice speech. It's a pity there is little to no backing to their recommendations. Too many people I know are actively meeting people or keeping services like makeup open, without any protective gear or caution, and there's nothing anyone else can do about them.

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