What’s going on with Covid testing in Sweden?

With Omicron rates on the rise across Sweden, testing facilities are currently experiencing high levels of demand, leaving people in many regions waiting for days before they can book a test.

What's going on with Covid testing in Sweden?
Cars collecting and dropping off PCR test kits at Svågertorp in Skåne, where 40 percent of tests last week came back positive. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

In southern Swedish region Skåne, for example, PCR test slots in some areas are fully booked up to five days in advance, resulting in those with symptoms potentially reaching the end of their seven-day quarantine before test results are returned.

This has knock-on effects for schools and workplaces, as those experiencing symptoms are advised to stay at home until they receive a negative test result.

Region Kronoberg has now announced a complete pause in PCR tests for the general public, explaining that the region is reaching its daily limit for the amount of tests it is allowed to send off for analysis per day. Testing for healthcare workers will be unaffected by the ban.

“What we’re describing is a national problem with test capacity, Kronoberg is not the only region experiencing issues,” regional director Martin Myrskog explained at a press conference.

Until recently, the region was allowed to submit 1,200 tests for analysis per day. This has now been increased to 1,900, but is still too low, TT reports.

“On Monday and Tuesday this week, we issued 9,000 tests,” said Myrskog.

In the first week of January, almost 429,000 tests were analysed in Sweden, according to the Public Health Agency, with capacity expected to increase further.

However, the agency warns that regions may need to prioritise their resources in the face of increased cases of Omicron across the country.

This could include prioritising testing in areas affecting vulnerable individuals, such as healthcare or elderly care, or considering testing of symptom-free individuals as a lower priority.

The Public Health Agency also recently removed earlier recommendations that symptom-free travellers returning to Sweden get tested, stating that this is no longer necessary due to Omicron becoming widespread in Sweden.

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Who should get tested for Covid-19 in Sweden?

Omicron has taken hold in Sweden, and the high demand on testing facilities has led to delays for booking tests, as well as changes in testing rules. So who should get tested, and how can they book?

Who should get tested for Covid-19 in Sweden?
In some regions, you can get tested for Covid-19 at hospitals or health centres. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Who should get tested?

The high level of infection in Sweden means that not everyone who might have Covid-19 can get tested.

Currently, the Public Health Agency’s recommendations to the regions of Sweden state that the following groups of people should get tested for Covid-19 if they have symptoms, even if they are vaccinated:

  • patients, users and staff within healthcare and elderly care
  • people who are unable to work from home
  • schoolchildren over the age of 6

If you have had Covid-19 within the last three months, you don’t usually need to get tested again.

But note that it is ultimately up to each region to decide how to organise their testing (scroll down for more information about how to book a test in your region).

You may also be contacted by infection tracking employees and told to get tested. This also applies if you are vaccinated.

What do I do if I have symptoms but can’t take a PCR test?

If you’re not covered by testing recommendations or can’t book a test for a few days, it’s important that you stay at home if you have symptoms.

If you want to get tested but can’t book a free PCR test, you can take an antigen test (snabbtest, självtest or antigentest) instead.

These are available to buy at pharmacies and supermarkets for around 50 kronor per test, although you will need to get someone else to buy them for you if you have symptoms of Covid-19 to avoid potentially spreading the virus.

You can also buy antigen tests online from pharmacies such as or – just make sure you can get them delivered direct to your door as you will be unable to collect them from a delivery location.

If you have met someone recently who has tested positive for Covid-19, or live with someone who has it, then you should also stay home, even if you don’t have symptoms.

You should stay home until the following apply:

  • At least five days have passed since you became ill
  • You feel noticeably better
  • You have been fever-free for the last two days

How do I book a test?

If you are covered by current testing recommendations, you can book a test via Make sure to choose your region under “välj region” at the top of the page for specific advice for your area.

In Stockholm, for example, you can book a test via the Alltid öppet app, if you have a personal number and are registered as living in Stockholm county. You will need BankID or Freja eIDplus. If you do not have a personal number, you can visit a drop-in testing bus – all you need is ID and a mobile phone number.

In Västra Götaland, you can take a test for Covid-19 at a healthcare centre, or order a saliva test if you live in Gothenburg.

In Skåne, you can order a test via a pharmacy, a testing site or a test delivery site – some of these are available for pedestrians or cyclists, some are only open for drivers.

In all regions, if you are booking a test kit for collection, you may need someone without symptoms to collect your test for you to avoid potentially spreading the virus, so make sure to check the rules for your region.

What do I do if I test positive?

If you test positive for Covid-19, you should stay home until the following apply:

  • At least five days have passed since you became ill
  • You feel noticeably better
  • You have been fever-free for the last two days

If you did not have symptoms when you got tested, you should stay home for five days from the day you tested positive. If you later get symptoms, you should stay home for five days from the day you first started showing symptoms, with the last two days fever-free.

You will also need to assist with tracking the spread of the virus, by informing anyone you may have infected prior to testing positive. This covers people you met with within two metres for at least 15 minutes in the time period covering 48 hours before you started feeling unwell until you are allowed out of isolation.

If you do not want to do this or cannot do this, you can inform test and trace authorities of the people you may have infected and they will contact them for you.

What do I do if I test negative?

If you test negative for Covid-19, you should stay home until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours, and until you are feeling better.

If you still have mild symptoms like a cough or a runny nose after this time, you do not need to stay home.