The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 27 March 2020

Quarantine and lockdown

Quarantine and lockdown

  • Listen

    Quarantine is a form of isolation of people who are not ill themselves, but may have been exposed to a disease which is dangerous to society. Anyone who has been, or is suspected to have been, exposed to a disease classified as dangerous to society (e.g. COVID-19) can be kept in quarantine as decided by the county medical officer (under the Swedish Communicable Diseases Act; 2004:168). A person can be put in quarantine in their own home. Quarantine means that you are not allowed to leave the building or receive visitors, apart from health and social care staff.

    For people ill with such a disease, isolation may be imposed instead. Decisions about quarantine are always individual, and patients may appeal against them.

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:11:58 AM

  • Listen

    No. According to the Swedish Communicable Diseases Act (2004:168), individuals can be put in quarantine but not town or cities. It is possible, however, to impose a lockdown on a particular geographical area (see question "What is a lockdown?").

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:13:13 AM

  • What is a lockdown?

    Under the Swedish Communicable Diseases Act (2004:168), an area corresponding to a few blocks may be put in lockdown. This means, among other things, that it is prohibited to enter or leave the area. A lockdown can be used when one or more people have fallen ill with a life-threatening disease within a particular geographical area. The lockdown then serves to make it possible to find the source, and to identify any other cases of disease or transmission.

    The aim with this intervention is to create a zone where an investigation can take place without risk of people entering or leaving and risking further transmission of disease. When the investigation is finished and anyone exposed has received the appropriate care or waited through the incubation period, the lockdown should be lifted.

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:13:50 AM

  • Listen

    A lockdown is a temporary intervention in order to investigate cases of disease or disease transmission. Hence, it cannot be used in order to prevent people from travelling in or out of an area for a longer period of time.

    Updated: 3/27/2020 4:19:01 PM

  • Listen

    Since the coronavirus causing COVID-19 is classified as dangerous to society, the county medical officers can decide to put healthy people in quarantine. This means that people are ordered to stay within a particular building, e.g. their home, in a specific part of a building, or in a geographical area.

    However, putting someone in quarantine is a forceful intervention, strictly regulated in the Communicable Diseases Act. If a less intrusive intervention, for example particular hygiene routines or suspension from work, school or daycare, can achieve the same effect it should be used instead.

    Updated: 5/14/2020 10:14:43 AM