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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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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”