The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 19 February 2020

How to reduce the spread of COVID-19

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.
    • 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.

    Beginning 13 June 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 -

    Updated: 6/29/2020 4:51:45 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

    No, as long as siblings or other members of the family do not show symptoms of disease they can go to school, preschool or their workplace. In families where one or more people are ill, it is very important to be alert to any signs of illness.

    Please take care not to spread disease.

    Updated: 3/20/2020 7:14:26 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 or school.

    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.

    This applies provided that you feel well and do not have a weakened immune system because of medical treatment or a disease.

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

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:31:55 AM

  • Listen

    There is now an ongoing transmission of COVID-19 in the community in several regions in Sweden. Our advice is therefore that you work from home, if it is possible to do so and if your employer agrees.

    This is to decrease the speed of transmission and the number of people in need of hospital care. A rapid increase of the number of infected would put unnecessary pressure on healthcare services. By slowing the rate, we give the healthcare system a better chance of coping with the extra burden.

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:32:54 AM

  • 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

    As of 15 June 2020 the recommendation ends for upper secondary schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education or adult learning to provide distance education rather than classes on their premises.

    The reason is that children and youth to a limited extent have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and few have been in need of intensive care. In the light of current knowledge upper secondary schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education or adult learning may resume classes on their premises.

    However, it is important to follow the general guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19

    Updated: 6/18/2020 11:47:55 AM

  • 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 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

    If a person in a household is ill with a high temperature/fever, a cough or other symptoms of COVID-19, they should self-isolate at home. If possible, the person who is ill should self-isolate in a separate room.


    • Try to keep at least an arm’s length away from the person who is ill
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as often as possible Always wash your hands before meals, when preparing food and after using the toilet
    • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a paper tissue Always put used tissues into the bin and wash your hands afterwards

    Provided siblings or other family members have no symptoms they can carry on as normal and go to pre-school, school or work, but they should be on the lookout for symptoms and, if any arise, should stay at home.

    Updated: 5/29/2020 5:41:05 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