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.
    • 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.

    Read more:

    Protect yourself and others from spread of infection

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

    Updated: 9/22/2020 10:25:02 AM

  • 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

  • I’m 70; can I see my grandchildren and still avoid being infected?
    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

  • Listen

    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 AM