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.
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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 1177.se. You should not call Sweden’s healthcare number 1177 to book a test.
Most regional 1177 pages will ask you to log into 1177.se 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 1177.se’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?
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.