The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 22 December 2021

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.


For questions and answers about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination, please visit

Vaccination certificate


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    You do not usually need to get tested again if you know that you have had COVID-19 in the previous six months. However, you should stay at home until you feel well. You might have received a positive COVID-19 test result through a PCR test, an antigen test or an antibody test. In some cases, a doctor might still advise you to get tested.

    If you are ill and have received a negative PCR test, you do not have to get re-tested while you are ill.

    If you are ill and have received a negative antigen test, you might have to be re-tested. You will receive information about what to do when you get your test result. If you do not get this information, you should ask the responsible doctor about this.

    If you have previously tested negative for COVID-19 and fall ill again, with symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested again.

    Read more: COVID-19 testing

    Updated: 9/17/2021 3:16:58 PM

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  • Listen

    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.

    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. We recommend that antibody tests be taken by health care providers.

    Read more about when to get tested at COVID-19 and testing.

    Updated: 9/21/2021 1:15:07 PM

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  • 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 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.

    Read more

    Recommendations for people entering Sweden from abroad

    COVID-19 testing: Screening at workplaces and schools

    Updated: 11/30/2021 11:42:28 AM

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  • Listen

    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.

    Antigen tests are also available as self-tests. This means that you take the test yourself and read the result. If the self-test shows that you have COVID-19, you need to self-isolate and contact health care without delay. This can be done by booking a follow-up PCR test. You can see what procedures apply in your region by visiting

    Updated: 9/21/2021 1:16:02 PM

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The virus and the illness

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    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
    • Loss of smell and taste
    • Diarrhoea

    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.

    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: 9/17/2021 3:19:21 PM

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  • Listen

    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.

    There might be places and situations where the risk of transmission is higher, even if we keep a distance from each other, e.g. in cramped areas with bad ventilation.

    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.

    Updated: 9/17/2021 3:19:52 PM

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    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: 1/4/2022 8:15:25 AM

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  • Listen

    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: 9/17/2021 3:20:36 PM

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Spread of infection

COVID-19 and children

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    A child with new symptoms of a respiratory infection such as a runny nose, sore throat, fever, cough or feeling generally unwell, needs to stay home until their condition has improved. If the child has had a fever, they must have been fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to preschool. The child can return to preschool and other activities, even if they still have some respiratory symptoms. As their parent or guardian, you determine when your child can return to preschool.

    • Follow these guidelines each time new symptoms appear.
    • Contact your regular healthcare centre or 1177 if you need medical advice.
    • Other procedures may apply in conjunction with contact tracing.

    Updated: 11/30/2021 11:43:42 AM

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    Symptoms of COVID-19 are generally milder in children compared with adults and children are less likely to become seriously ill.

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

    Updated: 9/17/2021 3:44:34 PM

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  • 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. 

    Updated: 9/17/2021 3:45:48 PM

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Concern and mental health

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    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: 9/17/2021 3:46:46 PM

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