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.
Information on national regulations and general guidelines
What do the new national regulations and general guidelines mean?
The stricter national regulations and general guidelines include both individuals and businesses. The regulation aimed at individuals emphasise the personal responsibility. Everyone is responsible for taking precautionary measures to protect themselves and others against the spread of COVID-19. You have to consider how to avoid getting infected or infecting others. It is particularly important to be considerate towards people in at-risk groups. You can do your part by following the general guidelines.
Updated: 12/14/2020 9:24:39 AMOpen in new tab
When will there be a vaccine against COVID-19 in Sweden?
Vaccines against COVID-19 will be available in Sweden as soon as they have been through examinations in accordance with established routines and approved for use in Sweden.
Vaccinations against COVID-19 will start sometime in January 2021, at the earliest, based on our current state of knowledge.
Updated: 11/27/2020 3:09:57 PMOpen in new tab
Will a vaccine stop the pandemic?
A vaccine that is approved for use in Sweden can be one of several ways to achieve protection against COVID-19. But a vaccine will not be the only solution. Even if a vaccine becomes available to us, we will need to think about protecting each other from infection by continuing to stay at home if we have symptoms, keeping a distance, maintaining good hand hygiene and working from home whenever possible.
Updated: 11/27/2020 3:10:39 PMOpen in new tab
What do the vaccines against COVID-19 contain?
All substances in a vaccine will be public when the vaccine is approved. The content will then appear in the vaccine’s product information. The Swedish Medical Products Agency will publish the product information as soon as the vaccine has been approved.
Updated: 11/27/2020 3:10:59 PMOpen in new tab
What is the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s responsibility when it comes to vaccination against COVID-19?
At the Public Health Agency of Sweden, we are working to develop recommendations on how a vaccination can be offered to those who will benefit from it. Our work also includes making sure that a vaccine can be delivered safely and that vaccinations are properly registered when administered, so that they can be followed up in terms of efficacy and safety. We are collaborating with many other actors and a first interim report on a national vaccination plan was submitted to the government on 31 August 2020.
Updated: 10/23/2020 3:27:27 PMOpen in new tab
Who will be offered vaccination against COVID-19?
Those most in need of help to prevent serious illness from COVID-19 will be given top priority. This also applies to staff working in the fields of care of older people, health and medical care and other care staff who are working closely with people at increased risk of serious illness.
Which groups are given priority will be determined by the state of knowledge available when the vaccine arrives, i.e. how safe and effective the vaccine is judged to be in the groups to be vaccinated.
Updated: 10/23/2020 3:28:09 PMOpen in new tab
Will everyone be offered vaccination?
It is not possible to decide until there is a ready-made vaccine approved for use in Sweden. Those most in need of help to prevent serious illness from COVID-19 will be given top priority. This also applies to staff working in the fields of care of older people, health and medical care and other care staff who are working closely with people at increased risk of serious illness.
The assessment will be based on the knowledge that exists about the disease at the time.
Updated: 10/23/2020 3:28:30 PMOpen in new tab
Who decides which COVID-19 vaccines will be offered in Sweden?
The Swedish Government has decided that Sweden will participate in the European Commission’s joint procurement of vaccines. Depending on which vaccines are approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Government, in consultation with us at the Public Health Agency of Sweden, will decide which vaccines Sweden ultimately brings in. This will happen later, when more knowledge exists about the vaccines in question. In consultation with other authorities, we will draw up recommendations on how vaccines should be offered to different people and groups in the population.
Updated: 10/23/2020 3:28:49 PMOpen in new tab
Can I decide for myself whether to get vaccinated?
Yes. All vaccinations are voluntary in Sweden, including vaccination against COVID-19. If you are offered a vaccination against COVID-19, you will be able decide for yourself, based on the available knowledge of the disease and the vaccine. You will also be given information about the vaccine before you need to make a decision.
Updated: 10/23/2020 3:29:10 PMOpen in new tab
- Do I have to pay to vaccinate myself against COVID-19?
Which groups will be the first to receive the vaccine when vaccination starts in Sweden?
People who have the greatest need for protection against serious COVID-19 will receive the first doses. Therefore, people who live in care homes for older people will be among those who will be given priority.
The following groups will be offered vaccination first – and in the following order of priority:
- Persons living in care homes for older people or who have home help, mainly those aged 70 and older.
- Staff working in the fields of care of older people, health and medical care and other care staff who work closely with the persons described above.
- Adults who live with people who have home help.
As access to approved vaccines gradually increases, the recommendation will be updated and further developed with recommendations for the prioritisation of other groups in society.
Read more: National plan for vaccination against COVID-19 (In Swedish)
Updated: 12/21/2020 9:36:33 AMOpen in new tab
Should you get tested for COVID-19 more than once?
If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19 through a PCR test or an antigen test you don’t need to be re-tested for COVID-19 unless a doctor recommends you to take a new test. You don’t have to repeat the sampling during the same period of illness, unless a doctor determines that it is necessary.
Updated: 12/3/2020 9:57:13 AMOpen in new tab
What different types of tests are there?
There are tests that can show if you have a current infection and tests that show if you have already had a COVID-19 infection and have developed antibodies.
PCR-tests and rapid antigen tests show if you have an active COVID-19 infection. The PCR test is used today on a large scale. It detects the virus’s genetic material. An antigen test shows if there are viral proteins in the sample.
Some regions are evaluating the use of antigen tests for specific situations, but they are not used on a large scale. Both of these tests are taken when you are ill with symptoms of COVID-19.
An antibody test shows if a person has previously been infected with COVID-19 and has developed antibodies in response to the virus. An antibody test is taken 2–3 weeks after falling ill. Antibody testing is organised in accordance with regional guidelines.
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: 11/26/2020 9:23:26 AMOpen in new tab
Who should be tested for a current COVID-19 infection?
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.
We also recommend testing to take place in cases of contact tracing. The test can then 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, the regions can decide on temporary adjustments to the regulations for testing.
Updated: 11/26/2020 9:25:40 AMOpen in new tab
What applies if I get a positive PCR or antigen test result?
A positive PCR test result shows that you have a current COVID-19 infection, or that you recently have had an infection. The same applies to a positive antigen test result. People who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection that has been confirmed with a PCR test or an antigen test are considered to run a very low risk of being re-infected for at least six months.
If you have received a positive PCR or antigen test result, it is important to stay at home and follow the rules of conduct that you will get from your doctor, so that you don’t infect others.
Updated: 12/3/2020 9:55:24 AMOpen in new tab
What applies if I have tested positive for antibodies?
Even if you have received a positive test result, you have to continue to follow the general guidelines to reduce the spread of infection in the community.
Based on the knowledge we have today, we assess that virtually everyone who has developed IgG antibodies has a protection against reinfection with serious symptoms and that the protection lasts at least six months from the time of infection.
Updated: 12/21/2020 9:41:02 AMOpen in new tab
Is it possible to have had COVID-19 but not have antibodies?
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.
Analysing T cell responses to COVID-19 is more complicated than analysing antibodies. For the time being, this is not being done routinely for individuals. A negative antibody test result does not rule out the possibility that a person has had an infection. Even if some people who has had COVID-19 do not develop detectable levels of antibodies in the blood, they have, in most cases, developed some kind of immune response to the virus.
Updated: 11/26/2020 9:30:02 AMOpen in new tab
Can I be around others if I have had COVID-19?
You can be around other people if you have had a COVID-19 infection that has been confirmed by a PCR-test, or if you have a positive test result from an antibody test. This applies regardless of whether you, or the people around you, belong to a risk group. You always have to do your own risk assessment before seeing others. You should continue to follow the general guidelines and take precautionary measures in the community and in the workplace.
Health care staff must continue to follow hygiene routines and routines regarding protective equipment in health care settings.
Updated: 10/1/2020 4:39:45 PMOpen in new tab
The virus and the illness
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
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:
- Difficulty breathing
- Runny nose
- Blocked nose
- Sore throat
- Muscle and joint pain
- Loss of smell and taste
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: 11/16/2020 3:31:45 PMOpen in new tab
How is COVID-19 transmitted?
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, sneezes, speaks or breathes out and the droplets reach mucous tissue in someone's eyes, nose, or mouth.
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 low.
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: 11/9/2020 1:12:45 PMOpen in new tab
- How long is the incubation period of the coronavirus, i.e. the period between infection by the virus and appearance of the first symptoms?
What is the fatality rate of COVID-19?
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.
Updated: 5/13/2020 11:26:54 AMOpen in new tab
Can you get COVID-19 more than once?
If you have had COVID-19, you have some protection against reinfection. This means that you are less likely to become infected and seriously ill, and less likely to infect others if you are exposed to the virus again. Over time, the protection that you get after an infection wanes and there is an increased risk of getting infected again. At present, we estimate that the protection after having had COVID-19 lasts at least six months from the time of infection.
Updated: 12/9/2020 9:43:33 AMOpen in new tab
Does smoking cause a more severe form of COVID-19?
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 PMOpen in new tab
Spread of infection
Can COVID-19 be transmitted from a person who is infected but does not experience any symptoms?
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: 10/20/2020 2:29:30 PMOpen in new tab
Does COVID-19 spread via water and food?
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 PMOpen in new tab
Can the virus causing COVID-19 spread between animals and humans and can my pet get the virus?
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 are occasional reports that the infection can spread from humans to pets under certain circumstances, but the likelihood that this would occur is minute. The epidemic is driven by the spread of the virus between humans.
More information is available from the National Veterinary Institute, SVA (in Swedish).
Updated: 10/20/2020 2:30:15 PMOpen in new tab
- Do I need to clean my house or handle household waste in any particular way?
What is your advice regarding face masks?
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.
We will therefore, in dialogue with the County Medical Offices, decide on situations where recommendations to wear a face mask could be valuable at national or regional level. Examples of such situations could be a visit to the optician or when you cannot avoid using public transport even though it is crowded.
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: 10/20/2020 2:31:01 PMOpen in new tab
Why are countries acting differently over face masks?
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 PMOpen in new tab
What do I need to think about in terms of sexual relationships?
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 PMOpen in new tab
How to reduce the spread of COVID-19
What can I do to protect myself and others?
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. Read more on the website 1177.se for advice on sampling in your region. 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.
- 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.
Updated: 9/22/2020 10:25:02 AMOpen in new tab
For how long should I stay at home?
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 PMOpen in new tab
Should I work from home even if I do not have any symptoms?
We recommend that as many people as possible continue to work from home this autumn.
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 PMOpen in new tab
How can we care for and protect people over the age of 70?
It is particularly important to protect older people from 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 AMOpen in new tab
I am 70 years old, how should I protect myself?
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: 10/20/2020 2:32:29 PMOpen in new tab
I’m 70; can I see my grandchildren and still avoid being infected?
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 PMOpen in new tab
How far apart should people keep from one another?
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 e.g. 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 PMOpen in new tab
What if I’ve recovered from COVID-19?
If you have had a COVID-19 infection confirmed by PCR-test or have had a positive antibodies-test you have the possibility to socialise with others, even inside, even if you or the other person/persons belong to an at-risk group. Please observe that you still have to make an individual risk-assessment before you meet others and that the general public recommendations have to be followed.
It is unclear how long immunity against COVID-19 lasts after an infection. Based on current knowledge there is reason to believe that the immunity will last up to 6 months if you have developed antibodies against the virus causing COVID-19.
Updated: 10/20/2020 2:33:04 PMOpen in new tab
What do I need to do if I get COVID-19 symptoms (children and adults)?
Children and adults who feel unwell should always stay away from work, school, pre-school and other activities. They should also avoid close contact with other people.
During the pandemic, it is important for us all to take extra care to avoid transmitting the virus in the community. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has therefore produced special instructions as to when children and adults can go back to work, school, pre-school and other activities.
For both children and adults, if you get symptoms that are short-lived – for example, you feel slightly ill one day but are fine the next day – you do not need to take a COVID-19 test. However, you should stay at home for a period of 48 hours without symptoms to make sure that you are not ill. You can then go back to work, school, pre-school and other activities.
If the symptoms have a clear cause that you are familiar with, and cannot be attributed to COVID-19, you do not need to stay at home. Typical causes might be migraines or allergies.
If the symptoms are still present after 24 hours, visit 1177.se to see what the arrangements are for COVID-19 testing in your region (children of pre-school age are rarely tested). Decisions about which people are tested in the region are made depending on the health care situation, i.e. the current status of COVID-19 infection and other infections. While you are waiting for the results of your test, you should stay at home and avoid close contact with other people.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19
If you have had a test that shows that you have COVID-19, you must stay at home for at least seven days, starting from the day you developed symptoms. If for some reason you have been tested despite not having symptoms, the seven days start from the day you had the test. You must also have been feeling well and had a normal temperature for at least 48 hours. If you still have mild symptoms such as a slight cough, cold symptoms or loss of smell and taste but otherwise feel fine, you can go back to work, school, pre-school and other activities if at least seven days have passed since you became unwell.
There are special procedures for severe cases that have required hospital care.
If you need medical advice, please call 1177.
It is important that you recognise that COVID-19 is a disease that is dangerous to public health and to society under the terms of the Communicable Diseases Act, which means everyone must comply with the directions given to prevent the spread of infection. Details of the directions are available as part of regional contract tracing procedures.
If you have tested negative for COVID-19
You can go back to work, school, pre-school or other activities as soon as you feel well enough and your temperature is normal. Comply with the sickness absence procedures at your work, school or pre-school or relating to other activities.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms but have not been tested
If you have symptoms that disappear quickly, and have no other known cause (such as migraine or allergies), you should stay at home until you have had no symptoms for at least 48 hours before going back to work, school, pre-school or other activities (see also above). This is to make sure that your symptoms really were only short-lived.
If for some reason you have not been tested for COVID-19 even though you have had symptoms for a few days that have no other known cause, you can go back to work, school, pre-school or other activity seven days after your symptoms started if you have been feeling well and have had a normal temperature for at least 48 hours. This also applies if you still have minor symptoms such as a slight cough, cold symptoms or loss of smell or taste.
Updated: 9/25/2020 11:48:41 AMOpen in new tab
Communicable disease surveillance and control
Must I follow general guidelines or a recommendation issued by the Public Health Agency of Sweden?
Yes and no.
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.
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 PMOpen in new tab
How does the Public Health Agency of Sweden monitor the spread of COVID-19?
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.
Updated: 5/14/2020 10:44:18 AMOpen in new tab
What does it mean that COVID-19 is classified as a disease that is dangerous to public health and to society under the terms of the Communicable Diseases Act?
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 AMOpen in new tab
What is contact tracing?
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 AMOpen in new tab
How many people are ill from COVID-19 in Sweden?
The current number of confirmed cases, in Sweden (in Swedish) and globally, is displayed on our website. The figures change constantly, as more people seek healthcare and are diagnosed with the disease. However, there is a number of unrecorded cases of infected individuals who have not sought healthcare and therefore have not been tested. How large the number of unrecorded cases is depends on the strategy and test capacity of each country. In Sweden the testing has increased substantially during April, May and June, in accordance with the National Strategy. Most of the regions offer and encourage everyone with symptoms to get tested. The more extensive the testing is, the lower the number of unrecorded cases.
Read more in the weekly report about COVID-19 (in Swedish).
Updated: 7/15/2020 12:52:17 PMOpen in new tab
- How many people have died from COVID-19 in Sweden?
What is the recommendation for private events such as weddings, parties and funerals?
You should avoid any large social gathering such as parties, weddings, funerals and other events attracting many people at the same time.
Funerals should not be cancelled since it is an important part of the grieving process. Plan for a smaller farewell ceremony instead. The Church of Sweden has more information on how to proceed with funerals and farewell ceremonies.
You can find information on funerals and farewell ceremonies within other traditions than the Church of Sweden at The Swedish Agency for Support to Faith Communities (in Swedish).
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: 11/6/2020 11:12:18 AMOpen in new tab
What rules apply to operators of public transport?
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.
Updated: 6/22/2020 1:33:17 PMOpen in new tab
What do the regulations and general guidelines for venues serving food and drink mean?
Venues serving food and drink have to take precautionary measures to avoid crowding. This means, for example, limiting the number of visitors in the establishment so that dining parties can keep a distance of at least one meter from each other, and that the size of one dining party is limited to four people. Serving venues also have to offer hand washing facilities or hand sanitiser, and to inform the visitors about how to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.
Updated: 12/23/2020 8:57:18 AMOpen in new tab
What should employers, organisations and businesses think about?
Workplaces and schools are not covered by the ban on public gatherings with more than eight people, but they should consider minimising activities that gather many people.
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 at no 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 ho
- Associations and clubs should postpone annual meetings and other similar meetings if possible, or hold meetings digitally.
It is important to keep a distance from other people, both indoors and outdoors in places where many people gather, e.g. in restaurants and shopping centers.
See krisinformation.se for information about local general guidelines (in Swedish).
Updated: 12/23/2020 9:05:53 AMOpen in new tab
Information to travellers
What are the recommendations for travel within Sweden?
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)
Updated: 9/8/2020 6:46:17 PMOpen in new tab
- What are the recommendations when using public transport or planning to travel?
What is the advice regarding international travel?
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 email@example.com.
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 AMOpen in new tab
What do hotels, youth hostels and campsites need to do?
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:
Updated: 6/29/2020 4:54:18 PMOpen in new tab
What applies regarding travel to Sweden from abroad?
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:
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 AMOpen in new tab
Where can I get a travel certificate?
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.
Updated: 8/12/2020 9:45:36 AMOpen in new tab
COVID-19 and children
How are children affected by COVID-19?
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 PMOpen in new tab
Can children and youths be vaccinated as planned according to the child vaccination programme during the outbreak of COVID-19?
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 AMOpen in new tab
Why are schools and pre-schools not closed in Sweden?
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.
Updated: 12/8/2020 2:08:25 PMOpen in new tab
Talking to children about the new coronavirus
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 AMOpen in new tab
When can pre-school children with minor symptoms that could be a sign of COVID-19 be at school and when should they be at home?
If a child attending pre-school or being looked after by a childminder becomes unwell, they must stay at home for at least 48 hours after they have gotten better. Sometimes children of this age (1 to 6 years) have mild problems that last only a short time and are not a sign of illness. When this happens, there is no need for them to stay away from school or their childminder. For example, they may cough once or twice or have a runny nose after they have been outdoors, i.e. minor problems that quickly pass. Staff should wait for a bit and see if it looks as though there is a continuing problem before sending the child home.
Children who have been away from pre-school for seven days due to an infection and have subsequently recovered and feel well can return to pre-school even if they still have mild symptoms such as slight cold symptoms or a cough. It is not uncommon for someone who has had a cold to have a sniffle or a cough for a while afterwards, sometimes for several weeks. However, this does not prevent them from going to pre-school.
All the above applies if no COVID-19 test has been taken. Children of pre-school age (1 to 6 years) do not need to be tested for COVID-19 when they are ill unless a doctor or nurse think it necessary.
Updated: 9/25/2020 11:47:16 AMOpen in new tab
Concern and mental health
I am worried about the new coronavirus, how can I handle my feelings?
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 PMOpen in new tab