The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 8 July 2021

How to protect yourself and others from being infected by COVID-19

Here we summarise the most important advice on how you as a private individual can prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Keep your distance

Keep your distance from other people, both indoors and outdoors, and avoid crowded environments.

This is particularly important when you meet with other people for longer periods of time and when you are indoors.

This recommendation applies in all contexts and means, for example, that you should shop alone, avoid social gatherings outside your immediate circle, work from home and avoid public transport if you do not need to travel.

Stay at home and get tested even when you have only mild symptoms

Children and adults who feel unwell must stay at home from work, school, preschool and other activities. This applies even if your symptoms are only mild. You must also get tested and avoid contact with others. You can read more about what applies where you live on

Work from home if you can

The Public Health Agency of Sweden recommends that everyone who can work from home should do so. Talk to your employer about the opportunities to work from home. It is important that the employer assumes responsibility for the work environment even when an employee is working at home.

Socialise with other people in a way that ensures that you will not get infected or infect others

When you meet with people from outside your household or your closest circle of friends, you should ensure that you minimise the risk of spreading infection.

Avoid getting too close to each other, especially indoors. Socialise outdoors if possible and only meet in small groups. Do not meet with people if you have any symptoms.

Get vaccinated as soon as you have the opportunity

Vaccination reduces the risk of falling seriously ill or dying of COVID-19. Everyone over the age of 18 will be offered a vaccine. Planning is underway to offer vaccination to adolescents aged 16-17. Information about the vaccination is available on the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s website. Getting vaccinated is voluntary, but the Public Health Agency of Sweden recommends that if you can, you should accept the vaccination. You can read about how vaccination is being organised just where you live at

Travel in a way that ensures that you do not get infected or infect others

You should travel in a way that minimises the risk of infection. Whenever possible, walk, cycle or travel by car instead of using a form of public transport where it is not possible to reserve a designated seat.

If you travel greater distances and encounter new people at your destination, be sure to keep your distance from others and meet outdoors whenever possible.

You should also make plans to ensure that you are able to self-isolate at your destination or return home in a way that minimises the risk of spreading infection if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

If you travel to another country, you should keep yourself informed about the risk of infection in the country you are visiting, and about which rules and restrictions apply while you are there and when you return home.

Wash your hands regularly

Infectious agents are easily attracted to our hands. They can be passed on when you hold someone’s hand, for example. So wash your hands regularly with soap and hot water, for at least 20 seconds.

Always wash your hands when you

  • get home or arrive at work
  • have been out
  • before a meal
  • when handling food
  • after visiting the toilet.

Hand sanitiser (or equivalent) can be an alternative if you are unable to use soap and water.

You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth in order to avoid infectious agents reaching your mucous membranes. It is also important to cough and sneeze into your elbow or a paper handkerchief.

Always act COVID-smart

You are obliged to do whatever you can to protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19. You should think about how you can avoid getting infected, how to keep your distance and how you can avoid infecting others. You must show consideration for your fellow human beings. This is particularly important when it comes to people in risk groups.

Further reading

About COVID-19, vaccinations and testing in different languages