“We still have a very high spread of infection across the country, and we conclude that a large proportion of the population risk becoming infected in the coming weeks,” Sara Byfors, head of department at the Public Health Agency, told a press conference.
Citing difficulties experienced by some workplaces, who are struggling to function as usual given the high amount of staff absence due to quarantine regulations, the Public Health Agency announced changes to quarantine and testing rules.
The following groups of symptom-free household contacts are no longer required to stay home from school or work if a member of their household tests positive:
- those who have received a booster vaccination
- those who have been infected with Covid-19 within the last three months
- some key workers, providing that other measures to avoid infection are taken
Note that this only covers staying home from school or work – these groups are still advised to avoid social arrangements or leisure activities where they are likely to meet other people.
Those who do not fall into these groups must quarantine for five days, starting from the day when the person in their household first started showing symptoms of Covid-19. This was previously seven days.
For those who are infected with the virus, quarantine has also been shortened to five days, as long as the person in question has been fever free and feeling well for at least the last 48 hours. This also applies to those who have not been able to get tested.
Children in preschool should still stay at home if new symptoms arise, and can go back to school once they are feeling well again.
Testing rules have also been updated, with testing now prioritised when there’s a medical need and for those working in healthcare and elderly care, as well as those who need to physically be at work and schoolchildren.
Other groups should stay at home until they feel well before returning to work.
Those who have taken an antigen test at home which has returned a positive result no longer need to book a PCR test to confirm infection. Those who have symptoms but tested negative on an antigen test should stay home for at least five days until they feel well again.
Screening with antigen tests is now recommended in some workplaces, such as healthcare services, and may be relevant in other sectors.
Byfors also underlined the importance of vaccination against Covid-19: “It’s important that vaccination efforts reach as many people as possible so that the consequences of the high rate of infection are limited as much as possible.”
Byfors specifically highlighted the importance of vaccination for pregnant women, stating that they have a higher risk than others of the same age of becoming seriously ill if infected with Covid-19, as well as complications which can occur if they become infected with Covid-19 during pregnancy. Vaccination against the disease also protects the unborn child from Covid-19.
“If you are pregnant, get vaccinated. It also protects the child – partly as you have less risk of being infected with Covid-19, and there is also a protective effect for some time after birth,” she said.