What happens if I test positive for Covid-19 in Sweden?

With cases of Covid-19 still rising in Sweden, here's a rundown of what to do if you're experiencing symptoms.

If you suspect you may have Covid you should act as if you do, even while you’re still waiting for the results of your test. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

When should I get tested for Covid-19?

If you think you have symptoms of Covid-19 while in Sweden you should get a test. Symptoms may include one or more of the following, and it’s important to know that they may in many cases be very mild: cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, loss of smell or taste, headache or muscle aches, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing or tiredness.

Note that if you suspect you may have a disease that is classified as “dangerous to the public”, such as Covid-19, Sweden’s communicable disease laws mandate that you get tested and take steps not to spread the virus to others.

Even if you don’t have symptoms, if you’ve just arrived in Sweden from anywhere outside the Nordic region you should also get tested as soon as possible after arriving, if you did not get tested before your journey. Some airports offer tests to arrivals who live in Sweden. Depending on which country you arrived from, you should also take a second test on the fifth day after arrival. You can read more here.

You are exempt from this recommendation if you are fully vaccinated or have had Covid-19 in the last six months. In case of symptoms, even vaccinated people should always stay at home and get tested.

There are a few other situations in which you may be asked to get tested, including if you’ve been identified in a test-and-trace probe, in which case you will get notified.

If you’re instructed by healthcare services to get tested, the test will be free, and the test is also free if you have symptoms of Covid-19. However, if you want a test in order to get a travel certificate and be able to travel abroad from Sweden you do have to pay.

How do I book a test? 

You can go online and find out how to book a test in your region by going to the website You should not call Sweden’s healthcare number 1177 to book a test. 

Most regional 1177 pages will ask you to log into to order a test, which usually means that you need a BankID – a Swedish digital identification system, which is only available to people with a personnummer, a Swedish social security number.

If you cannot log in online, or would rather not, you can call a health centre directly. There is contact information on’s regional pages for each centre, and if you don’t read Swedish it may be helpful to know that they are usually referred to as a vårdcentral.

You should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. Let someone who is healthy collect your test kit.

If you have questions about Covid-19, you can call 08-123 680 00 to receive help in English. The phone line is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm

What happens if I test positive?

You will be given instructions on what to do if you test positive, but here’s some general information about what you can expect:

If you suspect you may have Covid you should act as if you do, even while you’re still waiting for the results of your test.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden advises that if the test shows you have Covid-19, you should self-isolate for at least a week after you fell ill. On the last two days you should be feeling mostly well and not have a fever in order to end your self-isolation after a week. If the test shows that you have Covid-19, but you don’t have symptoms, you should stay at home for at least a week after the time you took the test.

If you live with other people and can’t isolate completely from them, you should at the very least try to keep one arm’s distance from them, and wash your hands frequently. Everyone in the household should also stay at home unless they are vaccinated and symptom-free. If they are vaccinated and experiencing symptoms they should still get a test and stay at home, however. Even after the initial week of self-isolation, everyone in the household should continue to pay attention to symptoms and minimise their contact with others for up to 14 days.

The advice on the Public Health Agency’s website is directed at people living in Sweden, but if you travel to Sweden from abroad you should follow the same rules. Ideally you should already have a plan for how to self-isolate if need be. If you’re staying at a hotel, they may have their own procedures in place, but in general it would probably be a good idea to call the reception from your hotel room, and not leave your room until your symptoms have gone. The Local called one of Sweden’s leading hotel chains and this also reflected their advice.

Note that although many of Sweden’s pandemic regulations are recommendations only, you are legally obligated to follow the healthcare services’ instructions if you have Covid-19. Spreading it to others through negligence could be a criminal offence.

This means that you must not meet any people other than those you live with during the period you are contagious, and you must not use public transport. According to Swedish rules you may spend time outdoors as long as you keep your distance from other people. You must also assist contact tracers in identifying anyone you may have exposed.

What should I do if I get really ill?

If you need medical care you should call national healthcare number 1177 and tell them that you have Covid-19. They will inform you of what to do next. You should not go directly to a hospital or healthcare centre without first calling 1177.

Anyone who has, or is suspected of having, an illness that is dangerous to the public is entitled to free medical care and anyone who is unable to work may be entitled to compensation from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

If you are so ill that it’s life-threatening, call the emergency number 112.

Where can I get more information?

You can read more here (in English) or here (in Swedish) about the information and instructions you may be given in the event that you test positive for Covid-19.

KrisInformation is a service collecting information around crises from Swedish authorities, and has an English-language section dedicated to the pandemic.

The Public Health Agency publishes new figures regarding the number of cases, deaths, and intensive-care patients from Tuesday-Friday at 2pm. The Public Health Agency also publishes information about current health and safety recommendations, although the English-language section sometimes takes a while to update.

You can also read more about Covid-19 on Sweden’s healthcare website and more about testing on KrisInformation

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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.