The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 10 September 2020

FAQ about COVID-19

Please note: These FAQ:s may not be completely updated due to the rapid change in the pandemic situation, the increasing knowledge about covid-19 and hence the continuous review of preventive measures recommended in Sweden.

Questions and answers about the new legislation for restaurants, bars, etc

Protect yourself and others from spread of infection

The virus and the illness

  • Listen

    In most people, COVID-19 manifests as a respiratory tract infection, and many different symptoms may be present. It is not possible to distinguish COVID-19 from other infections from only the symptoms – a laboratory test is required.

    Among the reported symptoms are:

    • Cough
    • Fever
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Runny nose
    • Blocked nose
    • Sore throat
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Muscle and joint pain

    A person falling ill with COVID-19 may experience one or more of these symptoms. It is fairly common to lose one’s sense of smell and taste for some time during an infection in the upper respiratory tract. Diarrhoea has also been reported as a symptom.

    Most people get mild symptoms and can recover at home without professional medical care. The symptoms often appear gradually. Some people get a severe form of the illness, with breathing difficulties and pneumonia.

    The list of symptoms may be adjusted over time, since we update our information as new knowledge becomes available, e.g. in scientific studies or from the WHO.

    The time between getting infected and developing symptoms (the incubation period) seems to be between 2 and 14 days. Most people develop symptoms after 5 days.

    It is very important that you stay at home if you feel ill. If you can no longer manage the illness on your own, please call 1177 for medical advice (available in English).

    Updated: 4/24/2020 1:55:51 PM

  • Listen

    The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causing COVID-19 is mainly transmitted between people via respiratory droplets or secretions from the respiratory tract. Transmission via droplets happens when an infected person coughs or sneezes and the droplets reach mucous tissue in someone's eyes, nose, or mouth. The droplets fall to the ground within approximately one meter (3 ft) from the source.

    The virus can be transmitted via contaminated surfaces, so-called indirect contact transmission, but the risk of getting infected via contaminated surfaces is considered to be very low. There are no indications that anyone has been infected with the new coronavirus from touching contaminated surfaces or items.

    It is currently not clear how long the virus can survive on surfaces and items. The material itself and conditions in the surrounding such as humidity, temperature, and sunlight will determine how long the virus is viable. Further studies will clarify the importance of transmission via surfaces and items for the overall spread of COVID-19.

    You can decrease the risk of transmission by keeping a distance from other people in public spaces, washing your hands often with soap and warm water, avoiding touching your face (eyes, nose and mouth), and by staying at home if you are ill.

    Updated: 5/22/2020 8:21:09 AM

  • Listen

    The incubation period, i.e. the time between getting infected and developing symptoms, seems to be between 2 and 14 days.

    Most people develop symptoms after around 5 days, but individual cases may deviate from this pattern.

    Updated: 5/18/2020 1:32:40 PM

  • Listen

    Most people with mild symptoms of infection (fever and a cough) get well after about two weeks but it can take significantly longer, weeks or months, to fully recover after having been severely ill.

    Patients with severe illness, who have been in hospital care, often need a longer period of time to recover. Some patients feel fatigued for quite some time after recovery.

    Symptoms like dry cough and the loss of smell and taste may remain for some time even after having recovered from COVID-19.

    The risk of transmitting COVID-19 is probably highest at the beginning of the disease. Stay at home if you are ill. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 you should stay at home for at least seven days after falling ill including two days with no fever. If you have developed more severe symptoms stay at home for at least 14 days after falling ill, and if you belong to the group who have been in hospital care, an individual assessment by your treating physician needs to be done.

    The currently available knowledge about how long COVID-19 lasts comes from the WHO "Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)".

    Updated: 7/15/2020 4:03:00 PM

  • Listen

    Globally, it is estimated that 0.5–1 percent of those who are infected with COVID-19 die. There is a clear relationship between increased fatality risk and older age: the older you are, the higher the risk.

    There are only a few peer-reviewed studies of the infection fatality rate of COVID-19, i.e. the share of infected who die, which means that this might change as new knowledge becomes available.

    A study by The Public Health Agency of Sweden estimates the fatality rate in the Stockholm region to 0.6 percent, for all ages. The fatality rate among those 70 years or older is 4.3 percent, whereas it is 0.1 percent among those younger than 70 years.

    The infection fatality rate of COVID-19 in Stockholm – Technical report

    Updated: 5/13/2020 11:26:54 AM

  • Listen

    Some groups of people may get more severe symptoms if they are infected by COVID-19. For example, they may get pneumonia or shortness of breath. The older people are, the greater the risk of serious illness and death. If people also have other health conditions, the risk is even greater. Men are approximately twice as likely as women to become seriously ill and die.

    The risk of becoming seriously ill increases gradually with age:

    • People aged 60-70 are twice as likely to become seriously ill as people aged 50-60
    • People aged 70-80 are five times more likely to become seriously ill than people aged 50-60
    • People over 80 are at greatest risk. They are twelve times more likely to become seriously ill than people aged 50-60

    70 or over

    The list below is of health conditions that, added to increasing age, can further increase risk. The higher up they appear in the list, the greater the increased risk.

    • Organ transplants
    • Blood cancers – existing or previous
    • Neurological conditions (e.g. MS, Parkinson’s, myasthenia gravis)
    • Obesity (risk increases with increased levels of obesity)
    • Diabetes (less risk if it is well controlled)
    • Ongoing cancer treatment
    • Chronic pulmonary diseases (including asthma, but risk very marginal if well controlled)
    • Stroke/dementia
    • Other immunosuppressive conditions or treatment
    • Liver disease
    • Impaired kidney function
    • Cardiovascular disease

    High blood pressure on its own does not appear to increase the risk at all and therefore no longer appears on the list.

    Under 70

    People under 70 may also be at increased risk of serious illness if they have:

    • one or more of the health conditions listed above
    • a health condition that increases the risk of serious illness if they get a respiratory infection

    Children are very unlikely to become seriously ill, even if they have one of the conditions or illnesses that increase the risk for adults and older people.

    New information is being added continuously, and the Public Health Agency of Sweden is monitoring developments and updating its information in line with the most recent knowledge.

    Updated: 6/15/2020 11:16:51 AM

  • Listen

    There are few studies of pregnant women with COVID-19, and only a limited amount of information is available. At present, there are no indications that pregnancy is a risk factor for severe illness from COVID-19.

    Risk factors such as severe obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes might increase the risk of severe illness. Therefore, pregnant women who have any of those risk factors should be careful and consult with their midwife or doctor and limit close contact with people outside of the household as much as possible.

    It is important to avoid getting infected before delivery because a respiratory infection towards the end of the pregnancy can be difficult and might imply risks to the pregnant woman.

    We recommend that pregnant women take extra precautions from week 36 and follow our recommendations thoroughly.

    Mother-to-child transmission of COVID-19 during pregnancy is unlikely. Children can be infected with COVID-19 but severe symptoms are very rare in newborn babies and in children. Therefore, healthy newborn babies do not need to be separated from their mother after delivery due to the risk of transmission.

    According to available studies, breast milk is not a source of transmission of COVID-19 and there is therefore no reason to prevent mothers from breastfeeding.

    Information is also available from the centre for knowledge about infections during pregnancy (in Swedish).

    Updated: 5/20/2020 8:48:56 AM

  • Listen

    It is unclear how long immunity against COVID-19 lasts after an infection. Based on previous experience, there is reason to believe that immunity will last long enough to prevent people from getting infected several times during the same season.

    Updated: 5/13/2020 11:27:37 AM

  • Listen

    Yes, smoking increases the risk of severe illness with COVID-19, according to available studies.

    The fact that tobacco smoking increases the risk of severe symptoms during respiratory tract infections is already well-known from e.g. seasonal influenza.

    Some health benefits of giving up smoking appear quickly, for example increased oxygenation of the blood, lower blood pressure, and improved pulmonary function. For advice and support to stop smoking, contact Sluta-Röka-Linjen (information etc. is available in English and other languages).

    New information and data is added continuously, and the Public Health Agency monitors the situation and updates its advice accordingly.

    Updated: 7/1/2020 12:23:07 PM

Spread of infection

  • Listen

    Yes, there are reports of transmission of COVID-19 from people without any symptoms of illness. However, only a few studies describe the role of this type of transmission in relation to the overall spread of COVID-19 in the community. Based on the available knowledge about COVID-19 and similar diseases, the current understanding is that this route of transmission represents a minor part.

    Updated: 8/26/2020 11:02:20 AM

  • Listen

    It is not yet clear how long the virus can survive outside the body. Research on related coronaviruses shows that they can live for several days on surfaces and items, under particular conditions. Their survival depends on temperature, humidity, and sunlight. Coronaviruses are sensitive to dehydration.

    The amount of virus particles present also determines how long a surface or an item is contagious. Such studies are done under controlled conditions in laboratories, and are not directly transferable to other environments, for example in the community.

    A recent study from a healthcare setting where patients with COVID-19 had been isolated shows that small amounts of genetic material from the virus can remain in the environment. Further studies will clarify the role of indirect contact transmission for the spread of COVID-19.

    It is important to maintain good hand hygiene. By washing your hands with soap and water you can decrease the risk of getting infected and infecting others. If water and soap are not available, alcohol-based hand rub can be used instead.

    Updated: 5/18/2020 1:41:52 PM

  • Listen

    There is no data indicating that people have been infected from food or water. The coronavirus causing COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is mainly transmitted person-to-person via respiratory droplets. This means that the virus reaches the inside of your eyes, nose or mouth from droplets that are dispersed in the air when someone sneezes or coughs. It is also unlikely that COVID-19 is transmitted via water in swimming pools or other types of baths.

    Wash your hands often with soap and warm water; before cooking and eating and after using the toilet. Alcohol-based hand rub is an alternative when you do not have access to hand washing facilities.

    More information is available from the Swedish Food Agency (in Swedish).

    Updated: 5/14/2020 1:19:32 PM

  • Listen

    The virus causing the disease COVID-19 was most probably transmitted from animals to humans at a market with live animals in China. The possible animal source of COVID-19 has not yet been confirmed but research is ongoing.

    There is no evidence that the virus can spread from humans to pets.

    More information is available from the National Veterinary Institute, SVA (in Swedish).

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:06:42 AM

  • Listen

    In a household where someone is ill with COVID-19 it is enough to clean as usual, using products available in supermarkets. Household waste, including paper tissues from infected persons, can be disposed of in your normal way.

    Updated: 3/20/2020 7:21:14 PM

  • Listen

    We do not currently recommend face masks in public settings since the scientific evidence around the effectiveness of face masks in combatting the spread of infection is unclear. However, there may be situations where face masks can be useful despite the uncertain state of knowledge about the effects.

    Face masks must always be seen as complementary to other recommendations: stay at home when you have symptoms, wash your hands regularly and keep at a distance from others.

    Read more about face masks (in Swedish)

    Updated: 8/19/2020 4:04:46 PM

  • Listen

    The scientific evidence around the effectiveness of face masks in combatting the spread of infection is weak, which is why different countries have arrived at different recommendations.

    Some countries have chosen to view face masks as a form of security and hope that universal use of face masks will reduce the risk of infection spreading from people who are in the incubation period, before the symptoms are apparent, or who have such mild or unspecific symptoms that they do not consider themselves ill.

    The Public Health Agency of Sweden does not recommend the general use of face masks, as a face mask that itches or slips down below the nose may mean a person is regularly touching their mouth, eyes or nose with their hands, which can increase the risk of the infection spreading.

    Use of a facemask may also encourage people with mild symptoms to go out into the community, which might increase the spread of infection.

    The Public Health Agency of Sweden is constantly assessing the state of knowledge in this area and reviews new information from various sources.

    Updated: 7/13/2020 12:46:38 PM

  • Listen

    Our general guidelines state that people should maintain a physical distance from other people to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, particularly outside their immediate circles. Closeness, intimacy and sex promote well-being and a general good state of health. In a steady relationship, where people are already seeing each other and are close, sex is not precluded provided you or your partner/s are not showing any symptoms of illness. However, dating and casual sexual relationships with new partners put you at risk of being infected or of infecting others.

    Updated: 7/13/2020 12:49:23 PM

How to reduce the spread of COVID-19

  • Listen

    We all have a personal responsibility to do what we can in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    This is what you can do:

    • Stay at home if you are ill. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 you should stay at home for at least seven days after falling ill including two days with no fever.
    • You should get tested if your symptoms do not pass within 24 hours or if your symptoms do not have some other explanation, e.g. allergy or migraine. Contact 1177.se or similar in your region for advice on sampling. It is always the region that decides who should be tested, based on the regional conditions.
    • Maintain good hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If handwashing facilities are not available, alcohol-based hand rub is an alternative. The alcohol-based hand rub should contain at least 60 % alcohol.
    • Avoid touching you face (eyes, nose, mouth). Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or paper tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Maintain physical distance from other people, indoors and outdoors in places where people gather such as shops, museums, libraries, civic centres, bathing places, beaches, camping sites, open-air cafés and restaurants.
    • Avoid social gatherings like parties, funerals, and weddings.
    • Maintain physical distance from other people at sports grounds, in swimming baths, in gyms, and other exercise facilities. Avoid using public changing rooms.

    Anyone without symptoms or newly diagnosed COVID-19 is allowed to travel within Sweden. However, it is important to take the following into account:

    • If possible, travel by other means than public transportation, e.g. by bicycle or walk.
    • If you need to travel by public transport, it is preferable to choose an alternative where it is possible to book a seat in advance, e.g. train. We advise you to avoid any travel by public transport where you cannot book a seat in advance, e.g. trams, subway and local buses. If this is not possible, ensure physical distance from other people.
    • Do not travel at rush hour unless necessary.

    Read more:

    Protect yourself and others from spread of infection

    Visiting Sweden during the covid-19 pandemic - Krisinformation.se

    Updated: 9/11/2020 4:36:16 PM

  • Listen

    If you feel ill with symptoms including a runny or blocked nose, cough, or fever you should avoid contact with other people.

    This also applies if you only feel a little bit unwell. Do not go to work, school or pre-school. It is very important not to risk transmitting the illness to anyone else.

    Updated: 5/18/2020 1:46:52 PM

  • Listen

    If you have a confirmed COVID-19 infection you should stay at home for at least seven days after falling ill. You should be free from fever for two days and clearly feel well before returning to work or school. A dry cough and loss of smell and taste may remain but if you feel well otherwise and seven days have passed since you fell ill you can return to work, school or preschool.

    If you have been tested without symptoms and received a positive test result, you must stay home for at least seven days after the sampling. Should you develop symptoms after the sampling, you may count from the day when symptoms appear and follow the recommendations above.

    The same applies if you have been ill, but not with COVID-19: stay at home for as long as you are ill. You should clearly feel better and be free from fever for two days before returning to work or school.

    If you develop mild symptoms that do not disappear within 24 hours or that do not have some other explanation, e.g. allergy, migraine or similar, you should get tested. If the symptoms remain and you are not tested, the same recommendation applies as to those who have received a positive test result (i.e. those who have COVID-19): Stay at home for at least seven days from the onset of the first symptoms. You should also have been free from fever the last two of those seven days. A dry cough and loss of smell and taste may remain but if you feel well otherwise and seven days have passed since you fell ill, you can return to work, school or preschool.

    This advice will be updated continuously as we learn more about COVID-19.

    Updated: 9/3/2020 1:48:37 PM

  • Listen

    We recommend that as many people as possible continue to work from home this autumn. The spread of infection is now decreasing but if we increase our contacts there is a great risk that the infection starts spreading again.

    As before, working from home must be chosen in agreement with the employer so that the operations are not negatively affected. For the employer, it is important that work from home be carried out with work environment aspects in mind.

    Updated: 8/21/2020 2:57:35 PM

  • Listen

    It is particularly important to protect older people from COVID-19. As of 1 April 2020, all visits to homes designed for older people in Sweden are banned in order to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

    You can arrange to see a relative who is 70 years or older under the right circumstances. Plan the meetings ahead, think about the risk of transmission in advance and take measures in order to reduce the risk.

    Do not have close contact with people over the age of 70 unless it is absolutely necessary. Stay at home if you have any symptoms of illness, even if you only have mild symptoms. COVID-19 may have the same symptoms as a regular cold, thus it is very important to be alert to any signs of illness.

    Updated: 6/18/2020 11:46:42 AM

  • Listen

    To avoid getting infected the Public Health Agency urges anyone 70 or older to limit close contacts with other people.

    As from 13 June you can travel if you do not have any symptoms. Preferably, use your own means of transport or public transport where you can book a seat in advance.

    You should avoid travelling by public transport, e.g. train, bus, tram or subway, visit supermarkets or other venues where many people gather at the same time. Instead, ask friends, family or neighbours to do your shopping, pick up medicines from the pharmacy, or run other errands.

    Many people feel worried, insecure and lonely under these circumstances. Remember that this situation will remain for a limited time. Try to ease your mind by doing something you find enjoyable and stimulating. If you take a walk, maintain physical distance from other people. Keep in touch with friends and family via telephone, email or social media.

    Updated: 6/15/2020 12:35:37 PM

  • Listen

    We recommend that people aged 70 or over avoid infection by limiting their physical contact with other people. However, it is important that people get to see their nearest and dearest for their own well-being. Older people can meet friends and family, preferably outdoors, if everyone maintains a physical distance. There is much less risk of infection when you are outdoors.

    It is important to remember that, even though children and young people do not seem to be the group driving the pandemic, children can still spread infection. When we meet children and young people it is often in the company of other adults, who may also be carriers.

    Remember too that any close physical contact potentially risks spreading infection. This means it is very important to maintain a physical distance even when meeting people outdoors. As a benchmark, it is suggested that we keep about an arm’s length away from each other. It is also better to meet with just a few people at a time. Plan your meeting in advance and think about what you can do to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

    You can also keep in touch with your relatives and friends via the phone, computer and social media.

    If you, your friends or members of your family test positive for antibodies, you might be freer to socialise. See the Q & A about what a positive antibody test could mean.

    Updated: 7/13/2020 12:51:54 PM

  • Listen

    There are currently no studies to show what precise distance is safe, but in view of how the infection spreads by droplets, a guideline might be no less than an arm’s length. Another reason why the Public Health Agency of Sweden is only giving an approximate measurement is that businesses such as restaurants and shops and other public spaces need a degree of flexibility to be able to operate.

    It is important to be considerate and use good sense when we meet other people, which means we should keep at a distance from others in public places, both indoors and outdoors. Beginning 13 June anyone without symptoms or newly diagnosed COVID-19 is allowed to travel within Sweden. The decision is based on the current infection trend and a forecast of the effects of increased travel. However, it is of utmost importance to continue to take great personal responsibility and follow our recommendations to keep a distance from others e.g. at bathing places, beaches, camping sites and open-air cafés and restaurants.

    The coronavirus is primarily transmitted person-to-person via droplets dispersed in the air when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. Studies on infections spread by droplet transmission show that the droplets fall down through the air quickly and do not generally travel more than an arm’s length.

    Updated: 6/22/2020 5:13:13 PM

  • Listen

    It is not yet clear to what extent a COVID-19 infection or the existence of antibodies provide immunity. People who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection should therefore follow the same recommendations as the rest of the population.

    You have recovered if it is at least seven days since you fell ill and at least 48 hours since you experienced any symptoms.

    Updated: 5/29/2020 5:41:32 PM

Communicable disease surveillance and control

  • Listen

    Yes and no.

    General guidelines
    General guidelines are not binding, they are a recommendation as to what to do in order to comply with a law, an ordinance or a regulation.

    You do not have to do exactly as the guidelines say. However, if you decide to do something differently, you must be able to show that you are complying with the binding legislation. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has produced general guidelines on COVID-19 and also on swimming facilities and indoor noise.

    Recommendation
    A recommendation is neither binding nor linked to binding legislation (unlike general guidelines). However, a recommendation is based on all the knowledge available on a particular subject, which means it is a good idea to follow a recommendation issued by an authority.

    Updated: 5/29/2020 5:45:09 PM

  • Listen

    The Public Health Agency uses several different surveillance systems to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in Sweden. Since COVID-19 is subject to mandatory reporting under the Communicable Diseases Act, physicians and laboratories continuously supply data to be analysed by the Public Health Agency on a daily basis.

    Other sources of data are random samples from patients with symptoms of influenza, or from other groups of people. Statistics from the medical advice service 1177 (web searches and telephone calls) is also used to monitor the situation.

    Collected data provides a background for decisions about interventions made with the aim of minimising mortality, the number of people affected by the disease, and the negative effects for society. Data from surveillance also makes it possible to monitor and evaluate the effects of interventions so far, and to follow and somewhat predict the further development of the pandemic.

    The Public Health Agency issues a weekly report showing the number of COVID-19 cases, beginning 20 March 2020.

    Weekly reports and other information about surveillance can be found here (in Swedish).

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:44:18 AM

  • Listen

    Classifying the disease as dangerous to public health and to society is a measure taken in order to enhance preparedness in Sweden, permitting interventions including quarantine, isolation, health screenings on arrival in Sweden and lockdown of areas.

    Depending on the intervention, the decision is made either by the county medical officer or by the Public Health Agency.

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:46:12 AM

  • Listen

    Contact tracing is an investigation of how an infected person might have contracted the disease (e.g. COVID-19), including the identification of other people who may be infected or have been exposed to the virus.

    Contact tracing can be a question of vital importance to prevent further spread or large outbreaks of the disease.

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:46:52 AM

Testing, vaccination, and treatment

  • Listen

    Testing for COVID-19 is always organised in accordance with regional and local guidelines. The Public Health Agency of Sweden recommends adults and school-aged children (including children in preschool class) with symptoms of COVID-19 to take a PCR test in order to find out if they have a current COVID-19 infection.

    Preschool-aged children should be tested in a situation where the number of cases is increasing locally.

    We also recommend testing to take place in cases of contact tracing or screening. The test should be taken even if you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19.

    In a situation where the number of suspected cases exceeds the capacity of healthcare services for testing, a special prioritisation is recommended. For more information: Provtagningsindikation för covid-19 (in Swedish).

    The Government has commissioned the Public Health Agency of Sweden to produce a national strategy for increased testing and analysis of COVID-19 (in Swedish), with more information about the recommendations regarding testing.

    Updated: 9/2/2020 3:51:45 PM

  • Listen

    There are two different types of tests for COVID-19. One test can show if you have a current infection and the other shows if you have had a COVID-19 infection and have developed antibodies.

    A PCR-test shows if you have an active coronavirus infection or have recently had an infection with COVID-19. This test detects the virus’s genetic material. The test is taken in the early stages of the infection.

    An antibody test shows if a person has previously been infected with COVID-19 and has developed antibodies in response to the virus. It can show if a person entirely or partly has developed a protection against COVID-19 after an infection. We recommend that antibody tests be taken by health care providers.

    There is a type of antibody self test available. It is taken and analysed by the individual at home. The Public Health Agency advises against using self tests for COVID-19.

    Updated: 9/2/2020 2:51:04 PM

  • Listen

    Employers and commissioning parties will assess whether their activity constitutes an essential service and inform staff of arrangements for testing in the workplace.

    The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has produced definitions of essential services in the context of COVID-19. They have also produced guidance for employers and commissioning parties to help them assess whether or not their activity is classed as an essential service.

    Updated: 7/13/2020 12:50:21 PM

  • Listen

    For anyone who has no symptoms, the presence of IgG antibodies means they are less at risk of being infected and thus, there is less of a risk that they will pass on the infection to other people.

    If you have no symptoms, a positive test result allows you greater opportunities to socialise with other people, even if you are in an at-risk group or are aged 70 or over. In the first place, this could mean socialising with people you are close to, such as friends and family, both indoors and outside.

    We must each always make our own individual assessment of the situation and continue to follow the general recommendations for reducing the spread of infection in the community:

    • Stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
    • Wash your hands regularly. The virus can be transferred to your hands when you touch things. Therefore, you should wash your hands often. That will get rid of the virus. This reduces the risk of the infection being spread.
    • Maintain a physical distance from people outside your social circle.
    • At work: Follow guidelines and recommendations in relation to personal protective equipment and hygiene procedures in health and medical care and social care.

    To produce reliable results, antibody tests need to be extremely effective. When undergoing an antibody test, it is important to consider its intended use. The person carrying out the test must provide you with information about the implications of your test result.

    Updated: 7/13/2020 12:50:53 PM

  • Listen

    Not everyone who has had COVID-19 develops antibodies. There will be some who develop antibodies, while others  do not develop antibodies but instead an immune response through the T cells. Those who have developed antibodies are most probably protected for six months after having received the test result. It is not yet clear what a T cell response to the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) means in terms of protection against reinfection, and research is ongoing.

    Analysing T cell responses to COVID-19 is more complicated than analysing antibodies. For the time being, therefore, this is not being done routinely for individuals but only for research purposes.

    Updated: 9/2/2020 3:50:32 PM

Statistics

Public gatherings

  • Listen

    As of 29 March, the Swedish Government has decided to ban all public gatherings and events with more than 50 people. The aim with this legislation is to prevent situations where large numbers of people from different parts of the country come together in the same place.

    Examples of public gatherings and events are demonstrations, seminars, religious gatherings, theatre performances and concerts. Sports events, dances and fairs are other examples.

    An exhaustive list of situations affected by the legislation can be found in the Public Order Act 2 chapter, 1-3 §§. Further information is available from the Swedish Police (in Swedish).

    Updated: 6/22/2020 11:55:08 AM

  • Listen

    On 1 April, the Public Health Agency issued regulations and general guidelines regarding our shared responsibility to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Everyone has a personal responsibility to prevent transmission. You should avoid any large social gathering such as parties, weddings, funerals and other events attracting many people at the same time.

    It is also of utmost importance to keep a distance from others at e.g. sports grounds, gyms, shopping centers, public transportation etc. People older than 70 should limit all close contacts with others.

    Prior to all events and public gatherings, the Public Health Agency recommends that the organisers do a risk assessment. A model for assessing and addressing potential risks is available here (in Swedish).

    Updated: 6/15/2020 12:34:47 PM

  • Listen

    According to the general guidelines published by the Public Health Agency, public transport operators should:

    • provide enough services to avoid crowding,
    • limit the number of passengers per vehicle, and
    • inform their passengers about how to minimise the risk of disease transmission.

    Businesses and organisations in Sweden must take note of the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden or County Medical Officers and do what they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This means that:

    • Shops and shopping centres must do what they can to limit the number of people on their premises at any one time. They should come up with alternative arrangements for checkout queues and advise customers how far apart they need to stand
    • Employers can also ease the situation for their employees by:
      - supporting employees who are on sick leave. Anyone confirmed positive with COVID-19 should stay at home for at least seven days after falling ill. Before returning to work one should have completely recovered and have had at least two days with no fever.
      - adapting the workplace so that staff are not at risk of infection
      - arranging for the staff to be able from keep a physical distance to each other
      - making it possible for staff to regularly wash their hands with water and soap or use alcohol-based hand rub.
      - making it possible for staff to work at home where possible
      - adjusting working hours so that staff can avoid travelling in the rush hour
    • Associations and clubs should postpone annual meetings and other similar meetings if possible, or hold meetings digitally.

    It is important to keep a physical distance from other people, both indoors and outdoors where people gather, e.g. restaurants, shopping centres, bathing places, beaches, camping sites and open-air cafés and restaurants.

    Updated: 6/22/2020 1:33:17 PM

  • Listen

    As from 14 June activities such as sports games, matches and tournaments without spectators will be permitted for all ages. The decision applies to all professional sports, at all levels, for both men and women. However, there are certain conditions to take into account. Tournaments should 

    • primarily be held outdoors
    • comply with the legislation in the Public Order Act chapter 2, section 1-3 §§ regarding public gatherings which are limited to 50 people. Further information is available from the Swedish Police (in Swedish).
    • limit the number of spectators and avoid crowding
    • only permit close contact considered unavoidable in order to be able to practise the respective sport.

    It is important that both participants and spectators are free of any symptoms.

    For all other exercise and sports activities the same rules as before are applicable, i.e. these activities can continue, but the one responsible for the activity must take action to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

    You are allowed to travel within Sweden in connection with sports games, tournaments and other sports activities. However, it is of utmost importance to keep a distance from others and to follow the general guidelines concerning travel within Sweden.

    For further information: New general guidelines regarding travel in Sweden this summer. Nya allmänna råd inför sommarens resor (in Swedish)

    General guidelines for all sports and exercise activities are:

    • If you are ill, even with only mild symptoms, you should not participate in any activities. You should remain at home until symptoms disappear and an additional two days thereafter.
    • If you fall ill during exercise you should go home immediately.
    • Do not share water bottles, protective gear or other equipment that might transmit saliva.
    • Wipe any exercise equipment used by many people, such as gym machines, with a disinfectant, after use.
    • Maintain good hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If handwashing facilities are not available, alcohol-based hand rub is an alternative. The alcohol-based hand rub should contain at least 60 % alcohol.
    • Keep a physical distance from other people at sports grounds, baths, gyms and other sports facilities. Avoid changing clothes in public changing rooms.

    Important links for the organiser of sport events:

    Read more:

    COVID-19: Protect yourself and others from spread of infection - The Public Health Agency of Sweden

    Visiting Sweden during the covid-19 pandemic - Krisinformation.se

    Updated: 6/29/2020 4:52:56 PM

  • Listen

    Restaurants, bars, and cafés around the country need to take special precaution regarding the risk of crowding of people in queues, around tables, and at buffets or bars. Visitors must be able to keep at a distance from each other.

    All visitors should sit at tables when they eat or drink, they are not allowed to stand at a bar or similar. Staff should serve food and drinks at the tables. Unless it creates queues or crowding, guests may order and pick up their food at a counter. Take-outs can be handled as usual, as long as it does not lead to crowding or close contact between people.

    The person in charge of the venue is responsible for maintaining routines minimising the risk of disease transmission. This can for example include local guidelines about access to hand washing facilities (soap and running water) for staff and guests.

    FAQ about the new legislation for restaurants, bars, etc

    More information for restaurants and bars, including the legislation, is available here (in Swedish).

    Updated: 5/18/2020 1:50:08 PM

  • Listen

    Businesses and organisations in Sweden must take note of the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden or County Medical Officers and do what they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This means that:

    • Shops and shopping centres must do what they can to limit the number of people on their premises at any one time. They should come up with alternative arrangements for checkout queues and advise customers how far apart they need to stand.
    • Employers can also ease the situation for their employees by:
      – supporting employees who are on sick leave. Anyone confirmed positive with COVID-19 should stay at home for at least seven days after falling ill. Before returning to work one should have completely recovered and have had at least two days with no fever.
      – adapting the workplace so that staff are not at risk of infection
      – arranging for the staff to be able to keep a physical distance from each other
      – making it possible for staff to regularly wash their hands with water and soap or use alcohol-based hand rub
      – making it possible for staff to work at home where possible
      – adjusting working hours so that staff can avoid travelling in the rush hour
    • Associations and clubs should postpone annual meetings and other similar meetings if possible, or hold meetings digitally.

    Updated: 6/22/2020 2:56:27 PM

  • Listen

    Physical activity is good for public health and it is important that children are able to continue with their normal activities as much as possible.

    Summer camps and similar activities for children and young people (born 2002 or later) can take place in the immediate locality. Organisers of camps must ensure they reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. They must also carry out a risk assessment of their various activities and put the necessary precautionary measures in place.

    Please bear the following in mind:

    • Training and other activities should take place outdoors if possible
    • Where possible, divide participants into small groups
    • Increase the distance between beds and between seats in dining rooms and other spaces if possible
    • Minimise the number of activities involving a lot of people, e.g. camp leaving events or performances for parents and visitors
    • Make sure there are facilities allowing people to wash their hands frequently
    • Anyone who is unwell must stay at home, even if their symptoms are mild.
    • Make sure that there are arrangements in place so that anyone who becomes ill can get home

    For further information please see:
    FAQ regarding sports and other exercise activities.
    COVID-19: Protect yourself and others from spread of infection - The Public Health Agency of Sweden

    Updated: 6/22/2020 1:29:24 PM

Information to travellers

  • Listen

    Anyone without symptoms or newly diagnosed COVID-19 is allowed to travel within Sweden.

    • If possible, travel by other means than public transportation, e.g. by bicycle or walk. If you need to travel by public transport, it is preferable to choose an alternative where it is possible to book a seat in advance, e.g. train.
    • We advise you to avoid any travel by public transport where you cannot book a seat in advance, e.g. trams, subway and local buses. If this is not possible, ensure physical distance from other people.
    • If you are ill you should not travel at all. People belonging to a risk group particularly need to consider whether they should travel or receive visitors. Those belonging to risk groups are primarily people who are 70 or over, and people with an underlying disease such as cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, or diabetes.
    • If COVID-19 spreads to a majority of the regions in Sweden, we risk a situation where the healthcare system’s resources become increasingly difficult to redistribute in order to support all affected areas. It is also important to know that you need to be able to care for yourself, should you fall ill when away from home. If you require help, please be aware that resources might be limited. You should also arrange for either isolation or a way to travel home in a way that does not risk spreading the infection to others.

    In addition to the above, previous recommendations regarding how to protect yourself and others from disease still apply.

    More information about travelling in Sweden (krisinformation.se)

    COVID-19: Protect yourself and others from spread of infection

    Updated: 9/8/2020 6:46:17 PM

  • Listen

    Public transport is not covered by the ban against public gatherings of more than 50 people.

    Anyone without symptoms or newly diagnosed COVID-19 is allowed to travel within Sweden. The general guidelines regarding travel in Sweden specify the personal responsibility while travelling.

    In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, public transport operators should:

    • provide enough service  to avoid crowding
    • limit the number of passengers
    • inform their passengers of how to minimise the risk of disease transmission

    The general guidelines apply to most passenger transports, i.e. also to taxi service for disabled, school bus services and health care transports but not to private use of your own vehicle.

    Read more:

    Protect yourself and others from spread of infection

    More information about travelling in Sweden

    Updated: 9/8/2020 6:47:22 PM

  • Listen

    The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs issues general advice regarding travel to other countries (in Swedish).

    For updated information, please visit the Ministry’s web page about the coronavirus and about the current situation in other countries. For questions please contact the consular department at +46 8 405 92 00, or ud-kc-resefragor@gov.se.

    The Public Health Agency does not issue travel recommendations for individuals or groups of people. However, we may pass on recommendations based on our international collaborations with the WHO and others to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

    Each person must assess their own situation, based on the need to travel and the available information on the disease from sources such as the WHO and ECDC, who present the official data reported by different countries.

    The International Air Transport Association (IATA) offers information on travel to different countries. For advice regarding planned journeys, please contact your travel agency or insurance company if you have questions about cancellations.

    Updated: 8/31/2020 9:20:01 AM

  • What do hotels, youth hostels and campsites need to do?
    Listen

    All organisations in Sweden must take note of the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden or County Medical Officers and put measures in place to reduce the risk of infection. This may mean limiting the number of guests who can be on the premises at any one time. Hotels, youth hostels and campsites should also make arrangements to avoid queues, such as at check-in, and advise how far apart customers should stand. They should also ensure that staff and visitors are able to wash their hands with soap and water and provide hand sanitiser. Arrangements at different sites may vary due to differences between them, for example in terms of size or location.

    If there is a restaurant, bar, café or similar facility at a particular venue, it will be covered by the new rules for restaurants and bars. Where that is the case, the County Medical Officer may consult with the municipality and take a decision to close those parts of the venue if they do not meet the requirements.

    Beginning 13 June anyone without symptoms or newly diagnosed COVID-19 is allowed to travel within Sweden. The decision is based on the current infection trend and a forecast of the effects of increased travel. However, it is of utmost importance to continue to take great personal responsibility and follow our recommendations to keep a distance from others e.g. at bathing places, beaches, camping sites and open-air cafés and restaurants.

    Read more here:

    Protect yourself and others from spread of infection

    Visiting Sweden during the covid-19 pandemic - Krisinformation.se

    Updated: 6/29/2020 4:54:18 PM

  • Listen

    At present, people travelling to Sweden will receive information on what applies in Sweden at the border crossing. Swedish laws and recommendations apply to everyone who is staying in Sweden:

    Protect yourself and others

    Visit Sweden

    There is no quarantine obligation for travellers to Sweden.

    For more information on how the ordinance on a temporary entry ban to Sweden is to be interpreted and which exemptions apply, please see Questions and answers – temporary entry ban to the European Union via Sweden.

    Updated: 8/26/2020 11:00:28 AM

  • Listen

    Some countries require you to provide a certificate proving that you do not have COVID-19 before they will let you enter. Other countries require a certificate before they will let their citizens return home without a period of quarantine.

    See information about the companies offering testing that includes a travel certificate; the list is updated continuously. You must pay the costs of any certificate yourself.

    The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has put together advice and instructions on travelling to and from other countries.

    Sweden’s embassies will give country-specific information about travel aimed at Swedish travellers.

    See information about the companies offering testing that includes a travel certificate

    Updated: 8/12/2020 9:45:36 AM

COVID-19 and children

  • Listen

    Children represent only a small proportion of the reported cases of COVID-19 in Sweden. Symptoms are generally milder in children compared with adults and children are less likely to become seriously ill. Available knowledge shows that transmission between children is limited and transmission in schools is very rare.

    Read more: COVID-19 in children and young people – a knowledge compilation (in Swedish).

    Updated: 8/17/2020 1:36:26 PM

  • Listen

    Yes, children and youths can be vaccinated according to the child vaccination programme also during the outbreak of COVID-19.

    In case of an ongoing acute infection with fever or an affected general condition (COVID-19 or other illness) the vaccination should, as always, be postponed.

    Updated: 5/14/2020 11:14:57 AM

  • Listen

    The Public Health Agency does not currently consider it necessary to close all schools in Sweden. There are no scientific evidence indicating that such an intervention would have any significant impact on the pandemic, nor has any major transmission of COVID-19 in schools been reported.

    Closing schools and pre-schools would have a negative impact on society. For example, essential workers to the public (e.g. healthcare staff) would need to stay at home with their children. It could also put vulnerable groups, such as grandparents, at risk if they help out with childcare.

    School is also a place of safety and stability for many children. Before closing a school, there must be plans made for alternative places where the children should go instead. However, it is of utmost importance that staff and children who have any symptoms of illness stay at home.

    The Swedish Parliament has passed a bill (2020:148) allowing temporary closure of schools and pre-schools due to extraordinary events, making it possible for the Government or the head of a school to close schools under particular circumstances. There is also a regulation (2020:115) regarding the provision of education for pupils during a school closure.

    Updated: 5/18/2020 1:54:46 PM

  • Listen

    In times of insecurity and unrest, children can be affected in different ways. They may worry about their own or their family members’ health, death, parents losing their jobs, financial problems for their family, or that they will not be allowed to go to school. As an adult, is it important to listen and provide support if children want to talk about what is happening in society.

    The WHO provides guidance on how to support children in matters related to COVID-19. Information in Swedish is available from Krisinformation.se, BRIS (Children's Rights in Society), and Rädda barnen (Save the children).

    Updated: 5/14/2020 11:20:34 AM

Concern and mental health

  • Listen

    We all react differently during difficult times. Feelings of stress, anxiety, or fear are natural responses to a crisis. If you feel very worried or have sleeping problems, there are some things you can try do which might help you cope with your feelings:

    • Talk to friends or family about your feelings and don’t hesitate to ask them for support.
    • Use reliable sources of information about COVID-19.
    • Limit the time you spend reading news and social media.
    • Keep your daily routines as much as possible, and do things you find enjoyable and relaxing.
    • Try to get fresh air, and stay physically active.

    The WHO also provide advice on how to cope with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Updated: 5/18/2020 1:34:27 PM