Sweden and corona – in brief
Here’s a brief summary of how Sweden handles the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Swedish government has presented many different measures in several areas to fight the coronavirus. Independent expert government agencies make recommendations, the government makes decisions. The decisions aim to:
- limit the spread of infection in the country
- ensure healthcare resources are available
- limit the impact on critical services
- mitigate the effects on people and businesses
- ease concern, for example by providing information.
Sweden’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is about taking the right measures at the right time, because different measures are effective at different points in time. The country’s response is also partly based on voluntary action. For example, rather than enforce a nationwide lockdown, the authorities give recommendations: to stay home if you've got symptoms, to keep a distance to others, to avoid public transport if possible, etc.
Swedish Covid-19 vaccinations started in December 2020.
- Read about the different measures that Sweden has taken at krisinformation.se.
- For business-related measures, go to verksamt.se.
Temporary pandemic law
On 10 January 2021 Sweden implemented a temporary pandemic law, giving the government more legal powers to limit the spread of Covid-19. The law makes it possible for the government to take measures such as introducing limits on visitor numbers or opening times.
Since 1 June 2021, the following restrictions apply:
- Foreign nationals – with the exception of those travelling from the Nordic countries – need to present a negative Covid-19 test certificate when travelling to Sweden. The test result must not be older than 48 hours. More details and exemptions at krisinformation.se.
- Shops, gyms, indoor facilities and swimming facilities must limit the number of visitors so that there is at least 10 square metres per person inside. Companies have to display clear signage that clarifies for visitors how many people may visit the premises at the same time.
- Restaurants, cafés and bars must close at 22.30 at the latest, with alcohol allowed to be served until 22.00. The size of a dining party allowed to sit at one table is limited to four people. If a party is larger, they must be divided between several tables with at least one metre between them.
- Indoor events without designated seating have a limit of 8 participants. At indoor events with designated seating, a maximum of 50 participants is allowed.
- At outdoor events without designated seating, a maximum of 100 participants is allowed. At outdoor events with designated seating, the maximum number of participants is 500.
- A private gathering held at an event venue, in a meeting room or at type of rented premise, a maximum of 8 people are allowed to attend. An exception to the rule are funerals, where a maximum of 20 people can be present.
The pandemic law will remain in effect until 30 September 2021.
The principle of responsibility
In Sweden, crisis management is built on the principle of responsibility. This means that the government agency responsible for a particular matter under normal circumstances is also responsible for that matter in a crisis situation.
In Sweden, independent expert government agencies give the government advice about which measures are needed to limit the spread of Covid-19 and combat the effects of the spread of infection in the community. It is then up to the government to make the decisions. These agencies can also make certain independent decisions concerning infection control.
Trust in government agencies
In Swedish society there is, in general, a relatively strong trust in government agencies. The general public and private actors tend to follow the advice of the agencies responsible.
Since March 2020, market research company Kantar/Sifo has done regular 'Covid-19 barometers' (link in Swedish) that monitor the general public's trust, attitudes and behaviour. During the course of the pandemic, some of the most central institutions in Sweden have seen trust and support from the public fluctuate depending on the current situation.
Swedish preschools and schools for 6- to 16-year-olds have stayed open during the pandemic, with a few exceptions. The Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) has made the assessment that closing all schools in Sweden would not be a meaningful measure at present. This is based on an analysis of the current situation in Sweden and possible consequences for the entire society.
In March 2020 a new law came into force that would make it possible for the government to close down preschools and schools, should that ever be deemed necessary to limit the spread of infection. The law makes sure that there is childcare available for children whose parents have vital public functions, such as in healthcare or the police force.