What are the guidelines for testing and isolating in Sweden after overseas travel?

What are the guidelines for testing and isolating in Sweden after overseas travel?
You should isolate for at least seven days after arriving in Sweden from overseas, which includes not going to work, school, shops or public transport. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT
Everyone arriving in Sweden from overseas should get tested as soon as possible for Covid-19 and isolate for at least seven days.

The rules on testing and isolating after travel to Sweden have been updated. Find the rules as of June 2021 here.

Hi, The Local. Do I still need to get tested and isolate if I show a negative Covid-19 result on arrival in Sweden? If I am exempt from the test requirement, can I get a test before travelling to avoid having to isolate?

Everyone who travels to Sweden is currently asked to get tested for the coronavirus on the day of arrival or as soon as possible, and again five days after that, and to self-isolate for at least seven days.

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This applies to everyone, regardless of where you are travelling from, whether you are a Swedish citizen or resident or not, or whether you have shown a negative Covid-19 test result at the border. You can read more about the recommendations from the Public Health Agency (in English) here. There is an exception for children younger than preschool age.

This recommendation was introduced in early February in response to the spread of new variants of the coronavirus.

You can arrange your test through 1177.se and selecting your region, or by calling a local doctor’s office (vårdcentral) and this should be free, even if you do not have any symptoms. Explain when you make your appointment that you have just returned from overseas travel.

“According to our dialogue with the regions, there should be testing capacity [for this] and there will also be a possibility to prioritise testing of people coming abroad so that they can quickly get tested,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told The Local.

You will also be expected to self-isolate for at least seven days after arriving. Self-isolating means keeping all close contact to a minimum, so avoiding going to places where you could come into contact with others such as shops, public transport, work or school; avoiding having guests come into your home; and having groceries ordered online or have a friend or neighbour bring them to you. Anyone else living in your household should also self-isolate for this week, even if they have not recently travelled abroad.

If you develop symptoms during the self-isolation period, you should follow the national recommendations that apply to people with Covid-19 symptoms. You can contact 1177 or your local vårdcentral if you are unsure.

This is a national recommendation and is not legally enforced, but everyone is expected to comply.

If you work in Sweden, you should be allowed to work from home if the nature of your job allows.

If you are not normally able to work from home, you should not go to work during the self-isolation period. You may be entitled to disease carrier’s allowance (smittbärarpenning) which is a benefit paid to people who are unable to work because they may be infected with a contagious illness. Contact the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) to find out how to apply.

This article was written in response to a question from members of The Local. If you have any questions about Sweden’s Covid-19 rules, email [email protected] and we will do our best to answer if we can.


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