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COVID-19

What Covid-19 rules and restrictions apply in Sweden now? 

From Thursday, July 1st some of the rules and recommendations to curb the spread of Covid-19 are easing. You’ll be able to stay longer in restaurants, attend larger events, and meet more people out of your immediate circle, but social distancing and other recommendations still apply.

What Covid-19 rules and restrictions apply in Sweden now? 
Here's an overview of the rules and restrictions that still apply in Sweden, whether you live here or are visiting. Photo: Gustaf Mœnsson/SvD/TT

Lena Hallengren, the Minister of Social Affairs has said: “I want to remind you that the pandemic is not over. We must continue to follow the recommendations that still apply.”

But she added: “Life can begin to return a little more to what it looked like before the pandemic.”

In addition to the national recommendations outlined below, your region may introduce, or may already have in place, local recommendations, which should also be followed.

Key recommendations

One of the most important recommendations is to stay at home if you experience any symptoms that could be consistent with Covid-19, get tested for the virus and avoid all close contacts.

You should keep distance (generally at least 1.5-2 metres as much as possible) from all other people when in public places, both indoors and outdoors.

Individuals should also practise good hygiene, for example by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.

Dining out

Restaurants and bars can now stay open until 2am (this is the same as pre-pandemic, so the restrictions have been removed completely), and for outdoor seating areas the limit on the number of guests per table will be removed, though dining guests must still be seated. Indoors, tables need to be a metre apart but can have up to eight people sitting at them.

Restaurants and bars still need to take measures to curb the spread of infection, including making sure it’s possible to keep a distance at checkouts and entrances and by offering ample hand-washing opportunities.

Events

Up to 300 people are now allowed at seated indoor events and up to 3,000 for outdoor events. For events without designated seating, the limits will be up to 50 people indoors, 600 outdoors, and 900 at outdoor running events and races. These limits will also be subject to social distancing rules which means they may be lower depending on individual venues.

Up to 1,800 participants are now allowed to attend outdoor demonstrations.

Private gatherings indoors at rented premises can now have up to 50 people attending. 

Shopping and travel

The general advice on keeping your distance and avoiding congestion remains, meaning you should avoid going into shops or other businesses if there is a risk of crowding.

There are legal limits on how many people can be in a shop, gym or other similar business at one time (no more than one person per 10 square metres of usable space; the total number permitted should be clearly advertised through signs). The advice to individuals is to maintain a distance from other shoppers, but the advice to shop alone is being lifted, meaning you can be accompanied by a partner or friend. 

The national recommendation is to avoid using public transport where it is not possible to reserve a seat, and to travel by walking, cycling or private car if you can. But from July 1st authorities no longer advise people to wear a mask on public transport during rush hour. Note that in some regions, local recommendations apply, including relating to mask-wearing and travel — you should check your regional website to see what applies where you are.

Long-distance buses and trains (travelling distances of over 150 km) may currently only run at half capacity.

Work and socialising

The advice remains to work from home as often as possible, and if it’s not possible, your employer should put in place measures to ensure distancing at the workplace.

The national recommendation to only meet people in your immediate circle is lifted from July 1st. This is replaced by advice to meet people outdoors if you can, only meet in small groups, and avoid being close to others in smaller spaces.

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COVID-19

Covid deaths in Sweden ‘set to rise in coming weeks’

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has warned that the number of weekly Covid deaths is set to rise, after the number of people testing positive for the virus rose for the sixth week running.

Covid deaths in Sweden 'set to rise in coming weeks'

According to the agency, an average of 27 people have died with or from the virus a week over the past three weeks. 

“According to our analyses, the number who died in week 27 (July 4th-July 11th), is more than died in week 26 and we expect this to continue to grow,” the agency wrote in a report issued on Thursday. 

In the week ending July 17th (week 28), 4,700 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, a 22 percent rise on the previous week. 

“We are seeing rising infection levels of Covid-19 which means that there will be more people admitted to hospital, and even more who die with Covid-19,”  said Anneli Carlander, a unit chief at the agency. “The levels we are seeing now are higher than they were last summer, but we haven’t reached the same level we saw last winter when omicron was spreading for the first time.” 

While 27 deaths a week with for from Covid-19 is a rise on the low levels seen this spring, it is well below the peak death rate Sweden saw in April 2020, when more than 100 people were dying a day. 

The number of Covid deaths recorded each week this summer. Source. Public Health Agency of Sweden
A graph of Covid deaths per day since the start of the pandemic shows that the current death rate, while alarming, remains low. Photo: Public Health Agency of Sweden

Carlander said that cases were rising among those in sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and also elderly people given support in their own homes, groups which are recommended to get tested for the virus if they display symptoms. The infection rate among those given support in their homes has risen 40 percent on last week. 

This week there were also 12 new patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 in Sweden’s hospitals.  

The increase has come due to the new BA.5 variant of omicron, which is better able to infect people who have been vaccinated or already fallen ill with Covid-19. Vaccination or a past infection does, however, give protection against serious illness and death. 

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