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EXPLAINED: What are Sweden’s new Covid-19 recommendations?

The first stage of Sweden's new three-step plan for new Covid-19 recommendations will come into effect from Wednesday, December 8th.

EXPLAINED: What are Sweden's new Covid-19 recommendations?
Health Minister Lena Hallengren, Finance Minister Mikael Damberg, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and general director of the Public Health Agency Karin Tegmark Wisell at a press conference announcing the measures. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Why is Sweden introducing stricter Covid-19 recommendations? 

The number of new Covid-19 cases reported a day has more than doubled since mid-November, indicating that fourth wave has finally arrived in Sweden. For now, however, infection rates in Sweden still remain considerably below those of most other European countries, including those of Denmark, Norway and Finland. 

What are the new recommendations?

The following recommendations will be introduced in step one – coming in to effect on Wednesday December 8th:

  • Employers should enable their employees to work from home as much as possible, for example by enabling employees to attend meetings digitally
  • Schools and universities can still hold classes in-person, but should avoid gathering people together in large numbers
  • Adults should keep a distance in public spaces, and use face masks on public transport
  • Restaurants and bars should take measures to prevent crowding

Step two was described at a government press conference on December 7th as infection control measures likely to be introduced if there is a “significant increase” in spread of infection, alongside “increased pressure on healthcare services”.

The following recommendations are included in step two:

  • Everyone should work from home, unless their work can only be carried out physically
  • Distance teaching will be partly reintroduced for adults
  • No sports matches or competitions for adults
  • Large groups should be avoided in schools
  • The vaccine pass system will be further extended: to events with fewer guests (currently, they are only needed for public events with over 100 attendees) as well as to other venues (this could include restaurants, bars or gyms, for example)
  • Measures to reduce the spread of infection will be rolled out to more venues and activities (such as, for example, a minimum distance between groups in restaurants or a limit on the number of guests at private events in hired venues)

Step three is likely to be introduced if there is “very high” spread of infection, as well as “very high pressure on healthcare services”.

The following recommendations will be included in step three:

  • Adults should limit the amount of people they have close contact with
  • Distance teaching will be partly reintroduced in gymnasieskola (schooling for 16-18-year-olds)
  • Social activities such as sports matches and competitions will also be cancelled for children and young people
  • Limited opening times for bars and restaurants
  • Limits on how many people are allowed per square metre in shops
  • A ban on visitors in healthcare settings

Additionally, previous financial measures to hinder the spread of infection will be reintroduced and extended from December 8th.

The government will once again pay for Sweden’s normally unpaid first day of sick leave (karensdag), in order to encourage more people to stay at home and not go to work if they have Covid-19 symptoms, offer temporary pay to parents if they have to miss work due to school closures, as well as removing the doctor’s note requirement for those applying for smittbärarpenning – offered to those who are forced to miss work as they may be infected with Covid-19.

Member comments

  1. hi ,
    i will travel to Greece for Christmas Holidays, and i want to know what have to do, before take the plane.

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Sweden to stop offering Covid jabs to teenagers

Sweden's Public Health Agency said on Friday it was no longer recommending that children aged 12 to 17 get vaccinated against Covid-19, citing the "very low risk" for the group. The new recommendation will come into force on October 31.

Sweden to stop offering Covid jabs to teenagers

“The decision means that as of November 1, 2022 only children in certain vulnerable groups are recommended to get and thereby offered vaccinations against Covid-19,” the agency said.

“Overall we see that the need for care as a result of Covid-19 has been low among children and young people… and has in addition subsided since the Omicron variant started spreading,” Sören Andersson, head of the Public Health Agency’s vaccination department, said in the statement.

For those over 18, the Swedish recommendation is three doses, with a fourth recommended for those over 65.

The country made global headlines when it refused to implement draconian measures as other countries around the world went into lockdown.

Sweden saw a slight increase in the number of deaths during the summer, but the number is now falling.

After having a high death toll at the beginning of the pandemic, the Nordic country now has fewer deaths per capita than the European average.