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IN BRIEF: What new Covid-19 rules will Sweden bring in this week?

IN BRIEF: What new Covid-19 rules will Sweden bring in this week?
The Swedish border with Finland at Haparanda. Those crossing over into Sweden will now need to show a valid Covid-19 pass. Photo: Erik Simander/TT
Sweden has already brought in new Covid-19 restrictions and recommendations this week, and more could be on their way. This is what we know so far.

All travellers arriving in Sweden from abroad should get tested

Starting on Thursday last week, Sweden’s Public Health Agency is recommending that all travellers arriving in Sweden over the age of seven take a Covid-19 test as soon as possible after arrival, even if they have tested negative shortly before beginning their journey, are vaccinated, or have recovered from a Covid-19 infection in the last six months. 

People who travel frequently across the Swedish border for work or study are not recommended to get tested every time they travel. Instead they should get tested at least once a week. 

People who work at the border, children under preschool age and children who live alternately with parents in different countries, are also excused from the recommendation to get tested after arriving in Sweden. 

You can read more about how to get tested for Covid-19 here.

Covid pass requirement for travellers from Nordic countries 

From Tuesday, December 21st, people travelling from Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland will be required to show a valid Covid-19 pass to enter Sweden, alternatively a negative test or proof of recovery.

Under current rules, everyone travelling to Sweden needs to show either an EU vaccine certificate or a vaccine certificate from a so-called “approved” country, alternatively a negative test no older than 72 hours or proof of recovery from Covid-19 in the past six months – the exact rules depend on which country you’re travelling from, and some categories of travellers are exempt from the rules.

Currently, everyone travelling from Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland is also exempt from the entry rules, meaning many non-EU nationals banned from entering Sweden directly have been able to do so via a Nordic country. From Tuesday, this loophole will be closed. 

Swedish citizens and people with permanent residency in Sweden will continue to be excused from the Covid pass requirement. 

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New recommendations for children’s free-time activities, sports competitions and training camps 

Karin Tegmark-Wisell, the head of the Public Health Agency, explained at a press conference on Thursday last week that as free-time activities sports competitions and sports training camps are important to children’s physical and mental wellbeing, a decision had been made to continue to allow them to take place. 

But she said that the agency would soon publish detailed recommendations on how to hold them more safely. 

Vaccination pass for restaurants, bars and gyms?

Lena Hallengren, Sweden’s health minister, said at the press conference on Thursday that “additional measures will be needed in the near future”. If the level of infection continues to rise (which is a near certainty), she said Sweden would allow restaurants and gyms to insist on all visitors having a valid vaccine pass

As she several times said that no new restrictions would be brought in which might disturb citizens’ existing Christmas plans, it is quite likely that this will be announced this week, but will only apply after Christmas, or even at the start of next year. 

Other recommendations and restrictions which might be announced

Both at a government press conference on December 7th and in an accompanying background paper from her agency, Tegmark Wisell laid out the “step two” restrictions, which might be brought in if there is a “significant increase” in the spread of infection and “increased pressure on healthcare services”. 

As well as the vaccine pass for bars, restaurants and gyms, these measured include: 

  • 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
  • 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


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