Travel ban and politics: What changes in Sweden in November?

Travel ban and politics: What changes in Sweden in November?
File photo of a Covid test station at Arlanda Airport. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
November is a big month for Sweden – with changes to the travel ban, test recommendations and the prime minister stepping down. Here's an overview of everything happening this month.

No tests for double-vaccinated from November 1st

As of November 1st, fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to take a Covid-19 test before returning to work after they recover – with a few exceptions. The new guidelines also apply to people who have recently been infected with Covid-19 and children under six. The exception is if you’ve been travelling outside of Sweden in the past 14 days, in which case you should get tested if you develop symptoms (and unvaccinated people are always advised to get tested after returning from international travel, even without symptoms).

“You should feel better and back to your normal self, even if you still have some respiratory symptoms. For most people this means you should stay at home for at least a few days, but often up to a week,” said Karin Tegmark Wisell, deputy state epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, at a press conference announcing the change.

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Although tests are no longer required for these people, the Public Health Agency still recommends that people with symptoms of respiratory infections stay at home until they feel better, returning to work, school or preschool once they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours. This is also to help avoid spreading other respiratory illnesses such as RSV virus (a common winter virus mainly affecting children) and influenza.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven retiring at party congress

After announcing his retirement this summer, Löfven will be stepping down as prime minister during the Social Democrats’ party conference in Gothenburg, taking place November 3rd-7th. Löfven has been prime minister since 2014, winning the 2014 and 2018 elections.

He is expected to be replaced by current Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson, who will become Sweden’s first female prime minister if she is approved by parliament.

Sweden next election – if no extra elections are called – will take place in September 2022.

Stefan Löfven cuddling a puppy just weeks before resigning as prime minister. Photo: Mats Andersson/TT

Travel ban extended – but vaccinated US travellers are exempted from November 5th

From November 5th, people who can show a Covid vaccination certificate issued in the US will be able to travel to Sweden freely, without any entry bans or test requirements.

The decision comes after the US said it would allow entry to fully vaccinated travellers from the Schengen area, including Sweden, from November 8th.

The government announced an exception for UK-vaccinated travellers earlier in October, and have now added that holders of vaccination certificates from Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man will also be able to travel to Sweden from November 5th.

See here for The Local’s article for more information on the travel ban and exemptions.

Clocks go back, signalling start of winter time

From November, the nights will get darker earlier – this is due to the clocks going back on October 31st, and the start of vintertid (winter time) in Sweden. You may get less sunlight, but this also means an extra hour in bed for most on Sunday morning.

This was expected to be the last time the clocks go back after an EU vote to scrap the changing of the hour from 2021, but after EU member states couldn’t agree on whether to stick to winter time or summer time, discussions are still ongoing – so this may not be the last clock change after all.

See this article from our sister site The Local France for more details.

Budget vote due this month

Sweden’s budget for 2022 will be voted on in November. It’s currently unclear as to what this budget will look like, with discussions still in progress between the different parties.

Budget negotiations represent a major hurdle for incoming Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson – failing to pass the Social Democrat-Green Party budget would be a major blow for the current Finance Minister so early on in her term.

Here’s an explainer on the budget negotiations, and what they could mean for the government.

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