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Summary:

  • As of April 1st, 13,498 people have been confirmed as having died after testing positive for the coronavirus in Sweden (up from13,465 on March 31st). The increase is not all from the past 24 hours, due to a delay in how the regions report their data. Sweden updates its data Tuesday-Friday at 2pm, but will not give an update on Good Friday, April 2nd.
  • Since the start of the outbreak, 5,964 coronavirus patients have been in intensive care as of April 1st, which also includes fatalities and patients who have recovered and been discharged (up from 5,923 on March 31st).
  • There have been 813,191 confirmed cases of the coronavirus according to data reported on April 1st (up from 804,996 reported on March 31st). 
     
  • 1,167,532 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus by April 1st, and 499,251 had been given both doses. 
  • Everyone in Sweden is urged to stay at home and get a coronavirus test if they are at all sick (even a mild cough or sore throat), practice social distancing, work from home if possible, avoid public transport as much as possible, and socialise with as few people as possible. Read more about the current rules here.

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See also on The Local:

April 1st:

Sweden has abandoned its earlier plan to offer Covid-19 vaccinations to all adults in the first six months of 2021, setting a new target of August 15th and limiting that deadline to first doses only.

Another 33 deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,498. A total of 813,191 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,964 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data. Because of the Easter holiday, the statistics will not be updated on Friday as usual, so we will be back on Tuesday with the next update.

A total of 1,167,532 people have been given at least one dose of the vaccine, and 499,251 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 14.3 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively, of Sweden’s adult population. 

March 31st:

Another 35 deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,465. A total of 804,886 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,923 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 1,125,472 people have been given at least one dose of the vaccine, and 486,038 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 13.7 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively, of Sweden’s adult population. 

March 30th:

When and how will life start to return to ‘normal’ in Sweden? It’s impossible to say for sure, but the Public Health Agency has presented proposals for a three-step plan to the government, outlining how restrictions should be relaxed and at which points. We’ve looked into the details here.

Planned relaxation of coronavirus restrictions, which would have increased the numbers allowed at public events starting from April 11th, should be postponed until May due to the high spread of infection, the Public Health Agency has said.

Another 28 deaths have been recorded since Friday, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,430. A total of 796,445 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,902 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 1,106,132 people have been given at least one dose of the vaccine, and 482,539 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 13.5 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively, of Sweden’s adult population. 

A few more key figures from the press conference: The 14-day incidence rate (number of new cases reported in the past two weeks per 100,000 residents) has risen to 686 but varies between regions, reaching over 1,200 in Halland. The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care has risen by 9 percent in a week, now at 305, and only 17 percent of ICU capacity is available nationwide (the target is 20 percent).

March 29th:

Sweden no longer expects to offer the full Covid-19 vaccine to all adults and children in risk groups in the first half of 2021, its vaccine coordinator has confirmed, instead saying 5 million adults are expected to have received both doses by that date.

March 25th:

Sweden will restart vaccinations using the AstraZeneca vaccine next week, but only for over-65s.

Starting from April 1st, a national recommendation for upper secondary schools to use distance learning will be lifted, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all older pupils will return to the classroom from that date. Schools have the possibility to offer remote learning if required due to a high spread of infection at the school or in the area, or if needed in order to reduce crowding at the school or on public transport. 

Another 16 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,373. A total of 773,690 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,795 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 1,005,559 people have been given at least one dose of the vaccine, and 443,156 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 12.3 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively, of Sweden’s adult population. 

March 24th:

Another 42 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,357. A total of 765,984 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,755 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data

The government announced that it would lift the special travel restrictions imposed on the UK, Denmark and Norway on March 31st, with travellers from Denmark and Norway from then on treated the same as those from any other EU/EEA country, and the UK subject to the same rules as other non-EU countries.

At the same time, the requirement that travellers from other EU/EEA counties bring a negative coronavirus less than 48 hours old, which was due to expire on March 31st, has been extended to the end of May. 

March 23rd:

Another 53 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,315. A total of 758,335 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,733 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data

A total of 971,736 people have been given at least one dose of the vaccine, and 414,239 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 11.9 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively, of Sweden’s adult population. 

March 22nd 

Around 500 people protested against Covid-19 measures in Sweden’s major cities on Saturday, with 300 people joining protests in Stockholm, according to police, around 200 in Malmö, and around 60 in Gothenburg. Of those, 30 were removed from the area or taken into police custody.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has said it will not take its decision on whether and how it will restart vaccinations using the AstraZeneca jab until Thursday. Joakim Dillner, Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the country’s Karolinska Institutet medical university, told Sweden’s TT newswire that he was worried that the suspension risked reducing the level of vaccine acceptance among the young in Sweden.  

March 19th: 

Another 26 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,262. A total of 744,272 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,645 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data

A total of 910, 425 people have been given at least one dose of the vaccine, and 383,498 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 11.1 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively, of Sweden’s adult population. 

Sweden’s Public Health Agency has said it will not take a decision on whether and how it will restart vaccinations using the AstraZeneca jab until Monday at the earliest. Read more about why here. 

March 18th:

Another 8 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,236. A total of 738,537 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,624 patients have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 883,561 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine, and 371,803 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 10.8 and 4.5 percent, respectively, of Sweden’s adult population.

March 17th:

Another 56 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,228. A total of 734,070 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,601 patients have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 861,525 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine, and 361,897 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 10.5 and 4.4 percent, respectively, of Sweden’s adult population.

The Public Health Agency has requested that the government lift Sweden’s entry ban for travellers from Denmark and Norway, so that the same rules would apply to them as to other Nordic and EU countries when the ban expires on March 31st, reports Swedish public radio.

March 16th:

Another 26 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,172. A total of 725,289 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,561 patients have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

The Swedish Public Health Agency has suspended use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as a “precautionary measure” pending an investigation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), who recommends that countries keep using the vaccine for now.

“Events involving blood clots, some with unusual features such as low numbers of platelets, have occurred in a very small number of people who received the vaccine,” EMA said in a statement.

“Many thousands of people develop blood clots annually in the EU for different reasons. The number of thromboembolic events overall in vaccinated people seems not to be higher than that seen in the general population.”

As of March 10th, 30 cases of thromboembolic events (blood clots) had been reported among almost 5 million people vaccinated with AstraZeneca in the European Economic Area.

No cases of blood clots in combination with low levels of platelets have been reported in Sweden so far.

March 15th:

Uppsala University warned students last week of an increased spread of coronavirus on its campuses, and on Monday the infectious disease unit in the region confirmed that at least 18 cases are likely the variant that was first discovered in South Africa (B.1.351).

“We think this could be the tip of the iceberg, and we take it very seriously. If we do not stop this outbreak, we risk a dramatic increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Uppsala,” said infectious disease doctor Johan Nöjd in a statement. He added that the spread is not limited to the university, so it’s crucial for everyone to be careful and follow the national and regional health and safety guidelines in place.

March 12th:

Another 35 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,146. A total of 712,527 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,467 patients have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 758,884 people have been given at least one dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus, and 335,031 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 9.3 and 4.1 percent, respectively, of the adult population.

Two members of Sweden’s royal family, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, have tested positive for Covid-19, the Royal Court announced yesterday. The couple went into quarantine on Wednesday after Victoria experienced cold symptoms, and are currently in quarantine together with their two children.

A mother has told The Local her 13-year-old son was banned from attending classes at an international school in the Stockholm region until he agreed to remove the mask he was wearing. She is now complaining to the local municipality. Read our full article here.

March 11th:

Another 23 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,111. A total of 707,192 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,450 patients have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 722,519 people have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 327,467 have received both doses. This corresponds to 8.8 and 4.0 percent, respectively, of the adult population.

Sweden has said it will not at this stage halt the AstraZeneca vaccine, after Denmark and Norway said they would suspend its use after some patients developed blood clots since receiving the jab, one of whom died. The Danish Health Authority said it was just a precaution, and that “it has not been determined, at the time being, that there is a link between the vaccine and the blood clots”.

“The Medical Products Agency does not consider that there is sufficient support to discontinue vaccination with AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The European Medicines Agency EMA has also found no reason to withdraw or suspend vaccination,” said the Swedish Medical Products Agency on Thursday, adding that it was monitoring the situation.

It argued that available data did not indicate that there was a higher number of blood clots among vaccinated people than in the general population, saying that by March 9th 22 such cases had been reported among 3 million people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe.

“The Medical Products Agency has received two cases of suspected thromboembolic events among people vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s vaccine, around ten for the Comirnaty vaccine and no cases for the Moderna vaccine,” it said.

New coronavirus regulations have come into force in Sweden, which give local authorities the right to ban people from certain public spaces to curb an outbreak. If anyone breaks such a ban, they risk being fined up to 2,000 kronor.

Municipalities may only introduce these bans if there is significant risk of crowding, and not across areas so large that it would violate people’s freedom of movement. The Public Health Agency and regional infectious disease doctor must also be given the opportunity to comment before any bans are rolled out.

March 10th:

Another 46 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,088. A total of 701,892 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,434 patients have recieved intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

More than a million vaccinations have now been carried out in Sweden. A total of 690,391 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 320,441 have received both doses. That corresponds to 8.4 and 3.9 percent of the adult population, respectively.

A coronavirus outbreak at the Northvolt battery factory in Skellefteå, northern Sweden, appears to be over. The outbreak, which started in February, led to the Västerbotten region bringing in stricter regional measures and the company sending many of its workers home and launching extensive testing. On Monday, 500 Northvolt employees were tested and all tested negative, a spokesperson told The Local.

Last week, two out of 1,302 tests were positive, reports regional newspaper Norran.

March 9th:

Another 39 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,042. A total of 695,975 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,415 patients have been in intensive care, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

The current national 14-day incidence rate is 522 positive tests per 100,000 people, the agency’s Sara Byfors told the Swedish health authorities’ biweekly pandemic press conference today. That’s higher than last week, but varies across the country. In Gävleborg, for example, the incidence rate is 913, it’s 816 in Västerbotten (where there was a big outbreak at the Northvolt battery factory), and 780 in Norrbotten. In Halland in southern Sweden, it currently stands at 848, but in neighbouring Skåne the incidence rate is 412.

A total of 669,950 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine, and 316,439 have received both doses. That corresponds to 8.2 and 3.9 percent of the adult population, respectively.

From March 6th, the new tighter restrictions on shops, department stores, gyms, pools, and sports facilities came into force. 

The changed restrictions are:

  • New 500 maximum: The number of people in a shop, department store, gym, or sports facility must never exceed 500. 
  • Constant check on 10 square-metre limit: The 10 square-metre space per person, a restriction first brought in in January, must now be “assessed continually” by those managing shops, department stores, gyms, pools, or sports facilities. 
  • No shopping in groups: Shops must take ‘reasonable measures’ to ensure that visitors shop alone and not as a group (this does not apply to pools, gyms, or sports facilities). 

The exceptions:

The 500 maximum does not apply to the public areas of shopping malls, with the Public Health Agency arguing that this is “not possible” as “there may be workplaces, healthcare facilities, and entrances to public transport which cannot be reached in any other way”. 

Children and people who need special support don’t have to shop alone.

March 5th:

Another 26 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 13,003. A total of 684,961 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,332 patients have been in intensive care, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 597,424 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine, and 292,867 people have received both doses. That corresponds to 7.3 and 3.6 percent of the adult population, respectively.

We have updated some of The Local’s maps that try to give you a sense of the state of the pandemic in Sweden:

March 4th:

Another 13 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,977. A total of 680,130 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,310 patients have been in intensive care, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

The number of new cases reported per 100,000 residents over the last 14 days reached 515.

Sweden has given the green light to AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine for people over the age of 65,

March 3rd:

Another 82 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,964. A total of 675,292 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,285 patients have been in intensive care, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 539,387 people have been given at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and 278,319 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 6.6 and 3.4 percent of the adult population of Sweden, respectively.

Stockholm’s head of healthcare has warned that the third wave of the coronavirus is already affecting the capital region, with the number of new cases almost having doubled in three weeks.

A total of 318 patients were being treated in Stockholm’s hospitals for Covid-19 on Wednesday, 48 of them in intensive care units – an increase from 29 less than two weeks previously. For three weeks in a row, the number of new cases has risen by around 25 percent. Last week a total of 6,336 new cases of Covid-19 were reported, up from 3,225 new cases three weeks earlier.

Sweden’s Public Health Agency yesterday announced changes to its workplace contact tracing guidelines, meaning that more close contacts of infected staff members will be tested.

March 2nd:

Another 56 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,882. A total of 669,113 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,269 patients have been in intensive care, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Sweden’s coronavirus cases are rapidly increasing, and there is a risk of a third wave that could be more serious than the second wave, despite the ongoing vaccinations.

The number of new coronavirus cases has been on the increase in Sweden for three consecutive weeks now, with a 10 percent increase each week, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told the health authorities’ biweekly press conference today.

Sweden now has a national incidence rate of 497 positive cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days, up from 445 a week ago.

March 1st:

New coronavirus measures begin in Sweden today, affecting how customers use restaurants and cafés.

Under the new rules put forward by the Public Health Agency last week, only one person should be served in restaurants and cafés that do not have their own entrances. This means that you should eat alone at restaurants located in, for example, shopping centres and larger department stores, where the entrances are shared within another space. The rule doesn’t apply to children or people in need of support. This ties in with a Public Health Agency guideline, which states that people should go shopping alone.

All restaurants and cafés in Sweden will also have to close at 8.30pm and may not open until 5am the next morning. Takeaway will be allowed at these venues after 8.30pm.

You can read more about the new measures HERE.

Day commuters from Sweden and Finland will be able to travel to work in Norway again from today, as long as they take a Covid-19 test every seven days.

This blog focuses on the coronavirus pandemic (for more Swedish news, go to our main homepage www.thelocal.se), but as a public service it may still be worth mentioning here that there is currently a thin-ice warning in place in the Uppsala, Stockholm, Södermanland, Jönköping, Dalarna, Västmanland, Örebro, Värmland and Kronoberg regions – after a spate of accidents, some fatal, in recent days. So please be careful!

“The warm spring weather means that the ice on lakes and watercourses is weak and dangerous, and there is a high risk of accidents,” writes the Krisinformation website.

February 26th:

Another 28 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,826. A total of 657,309 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,213 patients have been in intensive care, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Several of Sweden’s regions have introduced stricter coronavirus recommendations in response to local outbreaks and the spread of more infectious variants of Covid-19. Here are the things you need to do to protect the people around you. Nationwide, everyone should work from home if they can, and limit their close contacts to a small number of people – for example, the people you live with or a small number of friends if you live alone.


February 25th:

Another five deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,798. A total of 652,465 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,188 patients have been in intensive care, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 454,996 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine and 235,275 have been given both doses. That corresponds to 5.5 and 2.9 percent, respectively, of the adult population. In elderly care homes, 70 percent have been given both doses of the vaccine, and 21 percent of elderly who receive home-care service.

Those in elderly care homes in Sweden who are fully vaccinated have been given the go-ahead to meet relatives, and even hug their grandchildren, Sweden’s Public Health Agency announced today.

“The Public Health Agency has today concluded that it is now time to tell those in elderly care homes who have been fully vaccinated that it is OK for at least parts of their life to return to normal. It’s fine to meet relatives without any symptoms. Those who are fully vaccinated can hug their grandchildren again,” said director-general Johan Carlson.

In a press release issued alongside the press conference, the agency said that 83 percent of those over the age of 65 living in elderly care homes had now received at least one dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, and as many as 70 percent had received two doses.

As a result, the number of new coronavirus cases in elderly care homes has fallen dramatically, from as many as 900 a week before vaccinations started just after Christmas to less than 40 last week.

February 24th:

Another 80 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,793. A total of 647,470 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,166 patients have been in intensive care, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 437,699 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine and 225,341 people have received both doses. That corresponds to 5.3 and 2.7 percent, respectively, of the adult population.

Starting March 1st, all restaurants in Sweden will have to close at 8.30pm under rules that will shortly be put forward by the Public Health Agency. This would apply regardless of whether or not the venues serve alcohol.

The Public Health Agency is also preparing rules that would further cut the maximum number of people allowed in stores and supermarkets. It is also urging everyone to do their shopping alone, not with family or friends.

You can read more about the new measures HERE.

February 23rd:

Another 64 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,713. A total of 642,099 cases have been confirmed so far and 5,146 people have been in intensive care, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 427,783 people have received at least one dose of vaccine and 217,478 people have received both doses. That corresponds to 5.2 and 2.7 percent, respectively, of the adult population.

Sweden has a national incidence rate of 445 positive cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. It varies between regions: the corresponding figure for the Västerbotten region is 849 and 397 for Stockholm (however it’s important to note that Stockholm has been seeing a serious increase in new cases in the past couple of weeks).

“We are unfortunately seeing quite a clear increase in Sweden again,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told the Swedish health authorities’ biweekly press conference today.

Stockholm has introduced further coronavirus measures, effective immediately.

These include: wear face masks on public transport at all times and in close-contact situations, for example the workplace, grocery store, pharmacy or hairdresser; don’t travel unless you have to (and if you do have to, make sure you do so safely); and lower and upper secondary schools (ages 13-18) are recommended to move to full-time distance teaching in the week after the upcoming winter sports break. You can read more HERE.

Your membership helps us keep this blog going, so if you can, please consider joining us as a member – and if you are already a member, a huge thank you and again, if you can, please don’t forget to renew your membership if it’s about to expire.

The Sörmland region, south of Stockholm, also announced new regional guidelines today. These include face masks at all times of the day on public transport and in indoor environments where it is hard to keep a distance (except school classrooms), and distance teaching next week and the week after that.

February 22nd:

Another Swedish region has tightened its local coronavirus measures to curb the spread of new variants of the virus. This time it’s Gävleborg, which now advises everyone to wear face masks on public transport at all times, not just rush hour. Sweden’s first confirmed cases of the P.1 variant of the virus (which was first discovered in Brazil) were also confirmed in Gävleborg over the weekend, affecting a small cluster of four people.

All lower and upper secondary schools (ages 13-18) in the Västra Götaland region are urged to hold as many of their teaching hours as possible online for the week after the annual winter sports school break. Some schools had their break last week, and it gets under way this week in other schools in the western Swedish region.

We have added a few more regions to our guide to how to get your Covid-19 vaccination for free even if you don’t have a Swedish personal ID number (personnummer). You can find out more here.

In case you missed it, we also updated these articles last week:

February 19th:

A further 51 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,649. A total of 631,166 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 5,095 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 398,092 people have been given at least one dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus, and 187,751 have been given both doses. This corresponds to 4.9 and 2.3 percent of the adult population, respectively.

Schools will continue to have the option of remote learning during the next academic year, Sveriges Radio reports.

“The government’s assessment is that more time will be needed to ensure that students who need more teaching and teaching at different times that unusual can have that,” Education Minister Anna Ekström told the radio.

This doesn’t mean all or most learning will happen online. But a government decision last spring that gave school managers (either municipalities for municipal-run schools or boards of independent schools) extra powers, including to teach remotely and during holidays if needed, will be extended to apply during the next academic year.

Swedish researchers say threats and hate messages have escalated during the pandemic, and several of the Public Health Agency’s public figures are now in need of police protection. Read more here.

February 18th:

A further 29 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,598. A total of 627,022 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 5,079 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 384,401 people have been given at least one dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus, and 168,842 have been given both doses. This corresponds to 4.7 percent and 2.1 percent of the adult population, respectively.

The variant of the coronavirus first reported in the UK, B.1.1.7, is increasing in all of Sweden’s regions, the Public Health Agency said during Thursday’s briefing, which may make a third wave of the virus more significant since this variant is more highly contagious.

Nationwide, ten percent of tests for coronavirus gave a positive result last week, and 411 cases were confirmed per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks, an increase from last week,

In Gothenburg, where stricter recommendations including around mask-wearing were recently announced, one in four positive coronavirus tests is the new variant, and in Skåne the figure was one in four.

New proposals announced this week would give Sweden the option to shut down many non-essential businesses. But the government has not set a date or a threshold for what the situation would need to look like in order for it to use these powers. The Local’s journalist Catherine Edwards asks what it would take for Sweden to bring in a shutdown.

People who live in Denmark but study in Sweden are not exempt from a ban on travel between the countries – unlike those who commute for work. One university rector told The Local that communication about the rules has been unclear and many of her students have been affected, after police tightened their internal guidelines last week.

February 17th:

A further 82 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,569. A total of 622,102 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 5,068 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Twenty cases of the coronavirus variant first discovered in South Africa have been confirmed in central Sweden – the country’s first cluster outbreak of the variant that can’t be linked to travel.

The Västmanland region, west of Stockholm and home to the city of Västerås, today confirmed that 20 people have tested positive for the B.1.351 variant. None of the cases can be linked to international travel, the region wrote in a statement, but they are all limited to clusters of people who have been in close contact.

It added that it considered the outbreak of the variant to so far be “limited and controlled, thanks to increased contact tracing”. Read more here.

New regional coronavirus recommendations urge people in Gothenburg and the rest of the Västra Götaland region to wear face masks on public transport at all times, and “in situations where close contact, during long periods in indoor environments, is unavoidable”. You can read more in English here (and Swedish here).

The Swedish government is preparing measures that would enable it to shut down venues to curb the spread of coronavirus, including shopping centres, restaurants, gyms and sport centres.

Health Minister Lena Hallengren announced the new proposal at an early-morning press conference on Wednesday. She said the government was “worried” about the risk of a third wave of outbreaks.

“It could become necessary to close down parts of Swedish society,” she said.

The “lockdown decree” or “shutdown decree”, as Hallengren called it, would make it possible for the government to close for example shopping venues, gyms, leisure centres, restaurants and venues for private gatherings. If the government decides to use this power, the decision will also need to be put to parliament within a week.

These venues are not being closed down today, but Hallengren said the government wanted to prepare measures that would enable it to do this in the future, in the event of a serious third wave of coronavirus.

February 16th:

Swedish authorities gave their biweekly press conference today, where they reported that the total coronavirus death toll in Sweden had reached 12,487 — up by 59 from Friday when the figures were last reported. A total of 617,869 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 5,052 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Over the past two weeks, Sweden has reported 400 new cases of the virus per 100,000 inhabitants. This is an increase compared to the rate last week and the figure is not even across the country.

In Västerbotten, which recently tightened coronavirus measures in response to a local outbreak, that number is 687 per 100,000 residents, and in Jönköping it was 550, 519 in Västra Götaland, and 472 in Skåne.

In the capital region of Stockholm however the figure was below the national average at 316 cases per 100,000 residents, but the Public Health Agency’s Karin Tegmark Wisell said that it was “worrying that the spread of infection hasn’t continued to fall and that we see a rise in reported cases”.

“We must all do everything to bring down the spread of infection so that we can handle the pandemic,” she said.

“Together we can break the spread of infection by following the general recommendations, which are now legislated, together with other recommendations by authorities. It is incredibly important to stay at home if you have symptoms, even if you only feel a little bit ill […] it is also incredible important to work from home to the extent that it is possible.”

February 12th:

A further 58 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,428. A total of 608,411 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,993 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 341,656 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine, and 116,206 have received both doses. Sweden insists it is still on track to reach its vaccine target, which is to offer it to all adults by the end of June.

An online campaign group for fierce critics of Sweden’s coronavirus strategy has been accused of being “a threat to democracy” and trying to influence foreign governments to tighten travel restrictions for Swedes. But the radio report that covered the group has also received a lot of criticism, so you may have noticed that there’s been quite a lot of debate about this in the past few days. Here’s what you need to know.

With Sweden’s winter school break approaching, the Public Health Agency has issued guidelines on how to limit the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19 during the holiday.

As expected, the Swedish government today extended the ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars after 8pm until February 28th. After this, the ban will apply from 10pm and be in place until April 11th. These dates may change depending on how the situation develops.

February 11th:

Sweden’s total coronavirus death toll has reached 12,370, with a total of 604,577 confirmed cases.

A total of 331,389 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine, and 101,507 have been given both doses. 

Here’s a look at the latest updates from Sweden’s bi-weekly press conference on the pandemic. We learned that the new variant of Covid-19 that was first discovered in the UK is now widespread in Sweden, and 80 percent of care home residents have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

February 10th:

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has passed 600,000 in Sweden now, with 600,244 confirmed cases so far. A further 138 deaths were recorded today, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,326. A total of 4,965 people have received intensive care treatment over the course of the pandemic.

A total of 316,765 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine, and 85,806 have been given both doses. But the Swedish vaccination programme is behind schedule due to late deliveries by the pharmaceutical companies, regional administrators warn today.

February 9th:

A further 73 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,188. A total of 596,174 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,941 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said that the downward trend Sweden has reported over recent weeks appeared to have stagnated, with the number of newly reported cases remaining steady.

“It is a bit worrying that the downward trend has tailed off. We will have a difficult situation regarding Covid for large parts of this winter,” he said.

A total of 308,622 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine, and 76,103 have been given both doses.

Over the past 14 days, Sweden reported 387 confirmed Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents. In Skåne that figure was 525 and in Västerbotten it was 465.

February 5th:

A further 87 deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,115. A total of 588,674 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,870 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 286,853 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine, and 57,019 have been given both doses.

February 4th:

A further 89 new deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 12,028. A total of 584,674 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,857 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 276,008 people have been given at least one dose of vaccine, and 44,370 have been given both doses.

Everyone in Sweden aged over 65 will be included in the next priority group for the Covid-19 vaccine, the government announced on Thursday, along with other changes to vaccine prioritisation.

Sweden also announced that work was under way to offer a digital ‘vaccine certificate’ by the summer to all those who get a Covid-19 vaccine in the country.

New travel restrictions will come into force from Saturday, requiring foreign citizens who do not live in Sweden to show a negative Covid-19 test in order to enter the country. We have explained these recommendations in detail here, and you can contact us at [email protected] if you have questions — we will do our best to respond.

February 3rd:

A further 124 new deaths have been recorded, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 11,939. A total of 580,916 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,828 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A total of 264,149 people have been given at least one doses of vaccine, and 34,131 have been given both doses.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is expected to outline the details of a proposed entry ban on foreign nationals without a negative Covid-19 test at a press conference today. We’ll cover it on The Local.

The municipality of Strömstad saw its number of new coronavirus infections double last week compared to the week before – despite the fact that the spread appears to be slowly subsiding in the rest of the Västra Götaland region.

So the local authority is now bringing in extra restrictions, which mean lower secondary schools (for 13-15-year-olds) will return to online classes, sports and leisure centres will close and the municipality has asked for permission to reintroduce a ban on visits to care homes for elderly people.

February 2nd:

A further 224 deaths have been reported, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 11,815. A total of 576,606 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,819 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Over the past two weeks, the number of new cases reported per 100,000 residents was 420, a fall from 479 per 100,000 one week ago.

There are still regional variations, but in Skåne, which a few weeks ago had an incidence rate of over 1,000, the figure was down to 657 per 100,000 residents. In Västra Götaland the figure was 493 and in Stockholm 300.

The variant of the coronavirus first reported in the UK, called B117, has seen an increased spread in Sweden. The country has introduced a new screening method in four regions to find the new variant, and of 2,220 positive coronavirus samples, around 11 percent (250 in total) were the new variant.

Sweden will not recommend the Astra Zeneca vaccine for people aged over 65.

256,978 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus by February 2nd (3.13 percent of the total adult population), and 28,279 (0.34 percent) had been given both doses.

January 29th:

A further 71 deaths have been reported, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 11,591. A total of 566,957 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,772 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

As The Local has previously reported, as of January 28th, 230,517 vaccine doses (first and second) had been administered in Sweden, to a total of 216,269 people, according to reports from regions. We’ve looked into newly published data from the Public Health Agency to see which regions have vaccinated the most people so far.

The Public Health Agency has asked the government to introduce a requirement for foreign nationals to show a negative Covid-19 test no more than 48 hours old before entering Sweden. It writes that Swedish citizens “and others travelling into the country and have for various reasons not been tested before departure should do so on the day of arrival”.

The agency also recommends that everyone arriving in Sweden from any country in the world stay at home and avoid contacts for seven days – and get a second test on day five, in addition to the first test that they got before arriving in or departing for Sweden. The rest of their household is also urged to stay at home during this time.

January 28th:

A further 95 deaths have been reported, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 11,521. A total of 564,557 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,750 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Over the past 14 days, the rate of newly confirmed cases per 100,000 people was 443 in Sweden, according to the biweekly press conference. The rate of tests which had a positive result fell to 12 percent last week.

The Public Health Agency has updated its statistics on the vaccination programme. A total of 216,269 people had been given at least one dose of a vaccine against the coronavirus had been administered by January 28th, and 14,248 had been given both doses. That’s 2.65 percent and 0.17 percent of the population respectively.

Sweden’s public health chief has admitted using public transport without a face mask despite his own agency’s recommendations, saying it was an “embarrassing” mistake. The Local asked the agency whether it would consider making the recommendations clearer: here’s what state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told us.

January 27th:

A further 178 deaths have been reported, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 11,425. A total of 560,472 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,736 people have received intensive care treatment, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Five lions and two tigers at Borås Zoo in western Sweden came down with Covid-19 in mid-January, which was discovered after they started coughing and had no appetite. A 17-year-old tiger with underlying health conditions had to be put down, reports SVT. We’ve written more about it in English in The Local’s daily news round-up.

The Blue Room (Blå hallen) in Stockholm’s City Hall will be turned into a temporary vaccination hub for people working in elderly care, said mayor Anna König Jerlmyr. The venue is most famous for hosting Sweden’s Nobel Prize banquet every year.

In an effort to shield itself from mutated Covid-19 variants, Finland is hunkering down and closing its borders to European arrivals, including its Nordic neighbours Sweden and Norway.

January 26th:

A further 242 deaths have been reported, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 11,247. A total of 556,289 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,714 people have received intensive care treatment.

Over the past 14 days, the rate of newly confirmed cases per 100,000 people was 479 in Sweden, according to the biweekly press conference. That’s down from 616 the previous week.

We also heard that 192,700 vaccines against the coronavirus have now been administered. This mostly includes first doses, but some of the first people in Sweden to be vaccinated have received a second dose.

The rules on travel into Sweden have been updated several times recently in response to new variants of the coronavirus, with new arrivals from the UK, Norway, South Africa and Brazil expected to self-isolate and take two tests after arriving in Sweden. You can read in more detail about the rules in place here.

Meanwhile, for travel in the other direction out of Sweden, the Foreign Ministry advice to avoid non-essential travel to non-EU countries has been extended until at least mid-April.

In mid-January, all 65 intensive care places for Covid-19 patients in Skåne were occupied, the highest number yet seen in the pandemic. The region’s chief nursing officer told The Local how the region had handled the surge.

January 22nd:

A further 84 deaths have been reported, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 11,005. A total of 547,166 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,663 people have received intensive care treatment.

As some countries across Europe tighten up their requirements for face masks, the Swedish Public Health Agency does not currently recommend masks outside rush hour on public transport – but says that when you do wear a mask, a medical mask is better than a cloth one. Here’s how The Local’s questions were answered.

The European Commission has proposed creating new “dark red zones” which would be subject to tight travel restrictions, while Europeans have been “strongly discouraged” from all but essential travel within the EU as Covid-19 infections rise. Read the latest here.

Sweden hasn’t introduced a shutdown like many countries, but the pandemic has still led to many businesses closing while others are expected to ensure social distancing and limited visitor numbers. Here’s The Local’s look at what’s open and what’s closed in Sweden today (if you have further questions, let us know!).

We’ve also updated our nine graphs and maps that help explain the state of the pandemic in Sweden.

January 21st:

A further 124 deaths have been reported, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 10,921. A total of 542,952 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,645 people have received intensive care treatment.

There are 315 people in intensive care being treated for Covid-19, a decrease from 369 last week, while 23 percent of available intensive care places are available nationwide, with large regional variations. The number of people with Covid-19 in other hospital departments has also reduced from last week, when it was higher than at any point in 2020.

Several of Sweden’s coronavirus measures and laws that had been set to expire at the end of the week were updated today, which was announced at a government press conference at 8.10am.

  • The current recommendation for upper secondary schools (gymnasieskolor, usually for 16-18-year olds) to switch to remote learning was extended until April 1st, but adapted so that schools may have some parts of teaching in-person, in combination with distance learning.
  • The ban on alcohol sales at bars and restaurants after 8pm was extended for a further two weeks, until at least February 7th. The maximum number of people who can sit at one table in a restaurant or bar remains the same at four.
  • Municipalities and regions are urged to keep non-essential public services closed until at least February 7th. This includes for example swimming pools and museums.
  • The recommendation to wear face masks on public transport between 7-9am and 4-6pm on weekdays meanwhile was extended “for the rest of the spring”.

The Local followed the press conference live, so you can read a more detailed report here.

January 20th:

A further 206 deaths have been reported, bringing Sweden’s coronavirus death toll to 10,797. A total of 537,967 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,625 people have received intensive care treatment.

More people than at any point since the start of the pandemic worked from home in Stockholm and Skåne in the week of January 11th-17th, reports the TT news agency, citing anonymised movement tracking data compiled by telecoms giant Telia. The data tracks how people travel and does not necessarily correspond exactly to how many people are at work or not, but it gives an indication as to people’s movements. Click HERE to read more.

A blood bank in Uppsala has warned that their stocks of blood are at “alarmingly low levels”, speaking to the Vårdfokus medical news site. The pandemic has caused many donors to stay at home out of concern of catching or spreading the coronavirus, and this has resulted in a serious shortage of blood, not just in Uppsala, but in all of Sweden.

English-speakers can give blood in Stockholm (read more here), but in most parts of Sweden it is only possible to give blood if the donor has sufficient knowledge of the Swedish language. It is up to the nurse to assess the donor’s level of understanding.

Several of Sweden’s coronavirus measures and laws will expire at the end of the week, unless they are extended. We are likely to find out on Thursday whether or not Sweden’s upper secondary schools (gymnasieskolor, usually for children aged 16-18) will continue distance learning. The Local takes a closer look at the measures in question and what’s most likely to happen with them in this article.

January 19th:

A further 268 deaths have been reported, bringing Sweden’s death toll since the start of the outbreak to 10,591. A total of 533,265 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,597 patients have received intensive care treatment.

Around 147,000 people have received the coronavirus vaccine in Sweden so far.

January 15th:

A further 138 deaths have been reported, bringing Sweden’s death toll since the start of the outbreak to 10,323. A total of 523,486 cases of the virus have been confirmed so far, and 4,518 patients have received intensive care treatment.

Several regions have already vaccinated all care home residents and staff against the coronavirus, or will have reached that goal soon, Health Minister Lena Hallengren told media this week. We take a look at where Sweden’s up to with the vaccine HERE.

Sweden has extended an entry ban on travel from Denmark and the United Kingdom. The ban, which has been in effect since late December will now continue until January 31st, the Swedish government said in a statement. The rules had been scheduled to expire on January 21st.

Some new exemptions have been added to the rules. Children will be allowed to transit through Sweden from Denmark to get to Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea, if they are doing so to meet a parent. They will be allowed to enter Sweden from either Denmark or the UK for the same reason. You can read more HERE.

We have updated our article showing the nine graphs and maps that help you understand the state of the pandemic in Sweden. Check it out HERE.

January 14th:

Sweden’s death toll has now passed 10,000. A total of 10,185 people have to date passed away after testing positive for coronavirus, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data. There have been 518,783 confirmed cases of the virus, and 4,491 patients have received intensive care treatment.

The number of Covid-19 patients in hospital decreased this week compared to last week, according to the National Board of Health and Welfare – from 2,580 to 2,395, the board’s Thomas Lindén told Thursday’s press conference. But he noted that there are regional differences, and the strain on healthcare is still serious.

A government ban on restaurants and bars selling alcohol after 8pm is being extended until January 24th, Health Minister Lena Hallengren has confirmed to public broadcaster SVT.

The ban was introduced in late December, a month after an initial ban on post-10pm alcohol sales was brought in, and was originally set to expire on January 15th.

Under Sweden’s pandemic law, which came into force on Sunday, regional authorities are responsible for ensuring that businesses and individuals follow the rules. The legally binding measures currently include a maximum number of visitors in shops, gyms and other similar venues.

In some regions, such as Stockholm and Halland, the first inspections got under way on Monday, according to an investigation by Swedish radio. But 11 out of the 15 regions which responded to the investigation (Sweden has 21 regions in total), no checks had been carried out in the days since the law came into force.

The number of unemployed people in Sweden reached its highest level in 2020 since 1997 at almost half a million (8.8 percent of the working population). It is forecast to rise even further this year due to tougher coronavirus measures.

“The coronavirus pandemic hit hard in economic situation that was already on the way to slowing down. The crisis has also accelerated structural change which means that some jobs, for example in retail, will not come back,” Annika Sundén, head of analysis at the Public Employment Service, said in a report.

January 13th:

Sweden total death toll now stands at 9,834 people. Since the start of the pandemic, 512,203 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden, including 4,462 who have received intensive care treatment, according to the latest Public Health Agency data.

January 12th:

A further 234 deaths linked to the coronavirus have been reported, bringing the total death toll since the start of the outbreak to 9,667. Since the start of the pandemic, 506,866 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Sweden, including 4,434 who have received intensive care treatment, according to the latest Public Health Agency data.

There are currently 372 Covid-19 patients in Sweden’s intensive care units, with around 20 percent available capacity nationwide, the National Board of Health and Welfare’s head of crisis preparedness Johanna Sandwall said at Tuesday’s press conference from Swedish authorities. 

Sandwall said: “Outside intensive care, in other hospital departments, 2,460 Covid-19 patients are being cared for. So overall there are still more patients in the healthcare system than at any point during spring, so we have a severely overstretched situation in healthcare due to the pandemic.”

Read more in The Local’s report from the press conference here.

Around 80,000 people in Sweden have received the vaccine against Covid-19, figures published by the Public Health Agency show.

Up until January 10th, a total of 79,095 vaccinations were reported as having been administered to people in Sweden, or just under half of the 161,850 that had been delivered by that date.

The figures were published on Tuesday morning, a delay from the originally expected date of Friday, and there is still some uncertainty.

You can compare Sweden’s progress with other European countries HERE.

January 11th:

Sweden’s new pandemic law has come into force, giving the government more powers to make quick decisions on the coronavirus crisis.

One of those decisions means that visitors to shops, gyms and public pools, among other places, will be limited to a maximum of one person per ten square metres, and venues in violation of these rules may be handed fines.

The other new rule is that there is now an eight-person limit on private events organised in commercially hired venues, in order to close a loophole in the public event limit. It doesn’t apply to private gatherings – for example meeting people at home – but everyone in Sweden is still expected to socialise only within small circles of close family and friends. The difference is that under the new measure, people who rent a venue for an event of more than eight people can be fined, even if the event was private.

In this article, a legal professor answers some of The Local’s questions about the changes, including why it took so long and the key differences compared to a never-used emergency law passed last spring.

The spring term starts this week in schools across Sweden, but some (not all) pupils will be taught remotely for at least the first two weeks. We’ve tried to get a handle on the somewhat confusing situation in this article.

Hospitals across Sweden are now postponing urgent operations to make room for coronavirus patients, a survey by Sweden’s state broadcaster SR has found.

Every one of the country’s 21 regional healthcare authorities reported being in a “strained” or “very strained” situation, with the regions of Jönköping and Uppsala telling SR that they were having to postpone urgent operations on cancer or heart patients. You can read more about this here.

January 8th:

Sweden’s death toll as of today stood at 9,433. A total of 489,471 people have tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 4,314 have received intensive care treatment.

Sweden’s parliament on Friday voted in favour of a new pandemic law giving the government power to close certain businesses or limit visitor numbers and opening hours, which will come into effect from January 10th.

Here’s what Health Minister Lena Hallengren said when The Local asked what prompted the decision to introduce the new legally binding measures after previously focusing mostly on public health recommendations (spoiler: she disagreed with the premise of the question).

January 7th:

Sweden has today reported a further 277 deaths as a result of the coronavirus, bringing the total since the start of the outbreak to 9,262. Meanwhile, a total of 482,284 people have tested positive for the virus and 4,275 have received intensive care treatment.

The rate of new cases reported in the past 14 days was 725 cases per 100,000 residents, but the Public Health Agency’s Karin Tegmark Wisell said that these figures were uncertain due to lower rates of testing over the Christmas period. In the final two weeks of 2020, there was a drop in the number of people tested, while the proportion of positive tests rose to 21 percent of the total tests carried out.

Sweden has now reported 17 cases of the new coronavirus strain first detected in the UK and thought to be more infectious. Of these, 12 cases have a direct link to travel from the UK, but five cannot be linked to travel. 

In Sweden’s intensive care units, there are a total of 763 available places, of which 596 are occupied, 390 with Covid-19 patients, 55 more Covid-19 patients than one week ago, according to the National Board of Health and Welfare. There is 22 percent available capacity but large variation between regions.

Sweden’s new recommendations for face masks on public transport come into force today. This means you should wear a mask when travelling on public transport between 7-9am and 4-6pm on weekdays, and public transport should still only be used for  necessary reasons.

January 5th:

Sweden has today reported a further 258 deaths as a result of the coronavirus, bringing the total since the start of the outbreak to 8,985. Meanwhile, a total of 469,748 people have tested positive for the virus and 4,221 have received intensive care treatment.

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said that the number of new admissions to intensive care is “at a high and relatively stable level”, with no sign of a decrease.

January 4th:

We’re back from the holiday break, and here are some of the stories we’re covering in Sweden today. Note that these are only our coronavirus-related stories; for all our news from Sweden, go to our main homepage. If you’re a new reader, you may also want to consider downloading our app, or upgrading to paid membership for unlimited reading and exclusive articles.

As of January 1st, if you’re a British citizen who normally lives in Sweden, you have the right to travel here despite an entry ban from the UK. But you will have to provide both proof of residence and a negative coronavirus test result. We’ve put together this checklist of things you need to be aware of if you’re travelling from the UK.

But there’s been a lot of confusion over what rules apply. We’ve spoken to several British nationals who have been denied entry into Sweden despite being able to show a negative coronavirus test.

The Swedish parliament has been recalled this week to process the government’s bill for a new pandemic law that would give the government increased powers to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Members of parliament will vote on the bill on Friday. The government’s next step would be to impose rules on for example shops, gyms, sport centres and venues for private hire to limit crowding; and to propose rules that would enable authorities to close down venues such as shopping centres if necessary.

A press spokesperson for Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg has told the TT newswire that the minister will make a statement on whether or not the government still has confidence in the director of the Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) – one of the government agencies that helps lead the work on Sweden’s coronavirus planning.

Dan Eliasson has faced criticism after he spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve on the Canary Islands. He did not break any laws, but Swedish authorities have repeatedly urged people to limit their contacts by for example avoiding unnecessary travel.

“I found the trip necessary. I have a daughter who lives and works here. I spent Christmas with her and my family. I have given up a lot of trips during this pandemic, but I thought this one was necessary,” Eliasson told the Expressen newspaper.

December 30th:

Sweden’s total death toll since the start of the coronavirus pandemic has now reached 8,727. There have been 437,379 confirmed cases of the virus so far, and 4,055 people have been treated in intensive care. Please note that the Public Health Agency warns the data may be incomplete due to extra reporting lags over the holidays.

Months after similar requirements were rolled out in most other countries, Sweden has now released guidelines for when to wear face masks on public transport.

The new recommendation, issued by the Public Health Agency, states: “You should, on weekdays 7-9am and 4-6pm, use a face mask when travelling on public transport where a seated ticket is not offered.”

It comes into force on January 7th and applies to people born 2004 and earlier.

It will primarily be up to each passenger to bring their own face mask, “preferably of good quality, that is to say CE-marked”, stated the Public Health Agency as it presented the new recommendation on Wednesday.

But public transport operators are recommended to provide face masks for passengers who don’t have their own, and inform passengers how and when to wear their mask.

The new guidelines apply nationwide, not just in major cities.

Sweden will as of January 1st require all non-Swedish nationals travelling from the UK to show a negative test result before they are allowed to enter the country. You can read more about the latest guidelines here.

People travelling from the UK will be required take a negative coronavirus test at the most 72 hours before arriving in Sweden. Swedish citizens can’t be legally prevented from entering the country and will be exempt from this rule, said Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg as he announced the new requirement on Wednesday.

People who transport goods will not have to show a negative test result, so as not to hinder the transportation of essential goods such as medication or medical equipment.

Everyone travelling from the UK, regardless of nationality, is strongly urged to get tested for ongoing coronavirus infection as soon as possible after arriving in Sweden, and repeat the test on the fifth day after leaving the UK.

They are also urged to act as though they are infected with Covid-19 while waiting for their test and test results, which includes staying at home, avoiding close contact with others and maintaining good hygiene, and self-isolating for at least seven days after arriving in Sweden. This applies both to adults and children.

December 29th:

Sweden’s total death toll since the start of the coronavirus pandemic has reached 8,484. In total, 428,533 people have tested positive for the virus and 3,990 have received treatment in intensive care. But the Public Health Agency has warned that the data is incomplete over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, so the real figures are probably higher.

A new pandemic law that would give the Swedish government increased powers to fight the coronavirus outbreak is being fast-tracked to come into force in two weeks – if parliament signs off.

December 23rd:

Sweden’s total death toll since the start of the coronavirus pandemic has reached 8,279. In total, 396,048 people have tested positive for the virus and 3,847 have received treatment in intensive care.

Sweden will amend its temporary entry ban on people travelling from the UK to allow residents to return home even if they are not Swedish citizens, the government has now confirmed. The change comes into effect at midnight. But a ban on UK-Sweden flights has been extended until the end of the year. You can read more here.

December 22nd:

The total death toll since the start of the outbreak has reached 8,167. In total, 389,439 people have tested positive for the virus and 3,815 have received treatment in intensive care.

All regions said they expected the situation to get worse in both the short and long term, according to the National Board of Health and Welfare.

There were 697 intensive care places available with ventilators, 538 of them occupied, 55 percent of these with Covid-19 patients. Johanna Sandwall, the agency’s head of crisis preparedness, said these numbers were only expected to increase over the coming weeks due to the increased spread of infection in Sweden.

Sweden’s entry ban on people travelling from the UK came into effect at midnight and applies to travel by plane, boat or car, initially for a month. There is also a separate ban on all UK-Sweden flights until 4pm on Wednesday, over concerns of a new Covid strain.

Swedish citizens cannot be prevented from entering the country (although even for citizens there may be other complications such as cancelled flights). But a spokesperson confirmed to The Local that British citizens with residence permits, residence status or who were planning to move to live in Sweden are not exempt from the entry ban.

If you recently arrived in Sweden from the UK, you should follow a number of guidelines, including getting tested and staying at home for at least a week.

Read more about the entry ban HERE.

Sweden has also imposed an entry ban on people travelling from Denmark, which came into effect at midnight and is also set to last for a month. Swedish citizens are exempt, as are non-citizens who live or work in Sweden, and people working in transportation of goods.

The mutated virus found in the UK has also been discovered in Denmark, but the entry ban in this case is mainly based on the high strain on healthcare in the neighbouring Skåne region, while large parts of society including shops and restaurants are closed in Denmark but not Sweden.

“There is an obvious risk that Danes will be tempted to cross over to Sweden to shop for Christmas presents or spend time in Malmö for instance,” said Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg.

December 20th:

Sweden will join a growing list of countries to ban travel from the UK over concerns of a new Covid strain, the Swedish government confirmed on Sunday. Here’s what we know so far, which isn’t much. The decision is expected to come into force “as soon as possible” (the Swedish interior minister’s words) and we’re expecting to get more details tomorrow.

December 18th:

A further 100 people have been confirmed as having died with the coronavirus in Sweden, bringing the total death toll since the start of the outbreak to 7,993. In total, 367,120 people have tested positive for the virus and 3,713 have received treatment in intensive care.

In a major U-turn, the Public Health Agency will recommend the use of face masks on public transport at certain times, primarily rush hour. The new guidelines will be presented before many people return to work after the Christmas break on January 7th, the agency’s director Johan Carlson said.

The news about face masks came at a government press conference with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven as well as the Deputy Prime Minister, Health Minister, Education Minister, and general director of the Public Health Agency, where several more changes to the national recommendations were announced:

  • A ban on post-8pm alcohol sales at bars and restaurants (currently banned after 10pm) from December 24th
  • There will be a maximum limit on people who can be in shops or gyms at the same time
  • Upper secondary schools will continue distance learning until at least January 24th (currently until January 6th)
  • A maximum of four people will be allowed per group at restaurants (currently the maximum is eight people)

Here’s a full list of the new measures.

Sweden has extended its entry ban for non-EU countries until March 31st next year.

The Public Health Agency has warned pregnant women to be “extra careful not to get sick with Covid-19”. 

More ‘rapid tests’ or antigen tests for Covid-19 — which give an initial result within 15 minutes — will be used within the medical and care sectors, the government and Sweden’s Municipalities and Regions (SKR) announced.

December 17th:

Sweden’s total coronavirus death toll has now risen to 7,893, and it is likely to keep rising unless the spread of infection drops sharply, warned state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell at today’s bi-weekly press conference. A total of 357,466 people have tested positive for coronavirus to date, and 3,691 patients have been in intensive care.

Each year public broadcaster SVT releases the programme Året med kungafamiljen (The year with the royal family), and this year features Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf describing 2020 as “terrible” and the national coronavirus strategy as having “failed”. You can read more (in English) in The Local’s daily news round-up.

Sweden updated its travel advice yesterday, removing advice against travel to three EU countries (Ireland, Estonia and Latvia). This means there is no foreign ministry travel warning if travelling within the EU/EEA and UK, although Foreign Minister Ann Linde urged everyone in Sweden to carefully consider whether travel was necessary and, if it was, make sure they followed local guidelines and planned their return trip.

The ban on entry to Sweden from countries outside the bloc is still in place until January 31st. There are exceptions to the ban, including for EU/EEA citizens and people moving to live in Sweden, but visiting family or friends over Christmas is not one of the exception criteria. You can find more information on the exemptions here.

December 16th:

Sweden’s total coronavirus death toll has risen to 7,802, with another 135 deaths reported. There’s still a delay in how Sweden’s 21 regions report their data, so those are not all from the past 24 hours. This also means that unless there’s a sharp drop, the actual death toll is most likely higher than 7,802 today, due to this reporting lag.

A total of 348,585 people have tested positive for the coronavirus to date, and 3,664 patients have been admitted to intensive care since the start of the outbreak.

Swedish doctors, nurses and assistant nurses working at six of the country’s seven university hospitals, have together clocked up almost 1.5 million hours’ worth of overtime in the first ten months of the year, according to data obtained by public radio broadcaster Ekot. Overtime is not a new phenomenon in the healthcare sector, but that’s more than 200,000 hours more than last year, and is linked to extra work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sweden failed to protect care home residents from the coronavirus and the government is to blame – although other individual agencies and authorities bear responsibility – according to the country’s coronavirus commission’s first report.

The panel is investigating the response to the coronavirus from the government and other authorities. On Tuesday, their first report was presented, which looks specifically at the handling of the pandemic in the elderly care sector. A final report, covering multiple aspects of the approach, is expected in early 2022.

December 15th:

Sweden’s total coronavirus death toll has risen to 7,667, with 153 new deaths reported since Friday. A total of 341,029 people have tested positive for the coronavirus to date, and 3,631 patients have been admitted to intensive care since the start of the outbreak, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

The agency’s Sara Byfors reiterated the new national recommendations that came into effect yesterday, including: work from home if possible, stay at home if you have symptoms of the coronavirus (however mild) and get tested, avoid any environments with crowding.

“We have updated the advice around how you should socialise. Previously we had advice that you should avoid larger social gatherings, now the advice is that you should only socialise within a small circle, so it is a clear tightening from the previous advice,” she said.

December 14th:

Sweden’s new national coronavirus guidelines came into effect today, including recommendations to socialise with as few people as possible, “people you live with or just a few friends and relatives outside your household”. Read more about the current rules here.

If you have a Swedish mobile phone, you probably received a mass SMS sent by the government reminding you about the new rules.

Sweden registered more deaths last month than in any other November in more than 100 years, making it the deadliest November since the year the Spanish flu broke out.

All of Sweden’s 21 regions are increasing their number of available places for intensive care after available capacity fell below 17 percent last week (the minimum target is 20 percent).

At Malmö’s infection clinic, a large outbreak of coronavirus meant that around a third to half of its nurses and doctors tested positive for the virus. The region hopes that rapid tests giving a result in 15 minutes will help curb similar outbreaks.

December 11th:

Another 160 people have been confirmed dead after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing Sweden’s total death toll to 7,514 people. A total of 320,098 people have tested positive to date, and 3,537 patients have been admitted to intensive care since the start of the outbreak, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Stockholm is to shift 13- to 15-year-old schoolchildren to online distance learning from Monday, regional health authorities announced, saying the decision had been taken on the advice of regional infectious diseases doctors. 

Sweden’s public health and emergency preparedness agencies are to send out a test message to every mobile phone in the country in the hope of boosting public awareness of the new national recommendations for Christmas and the New Year which come into force next Monday. 

December 10th

Another 58 people have been confirmed dead after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing Sweden’s total death toll to 7,354 people. A total of 312,728 people have tested positive to date, and 3,510 patients have been admitted to intensive care since the start of the outbreak, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

In some parts of Sweden, medical and care workers are returning to work despite living with a confirmed Covid-19 patient and without being tested themselves.

A report by Sveriges Radio found that the regions of Jönköping, Stockholm and Östergötland have been forced to cut down on testing of asymptomatic staff who share a household with a Covid-19 patient, due to lack of testing capacity.

Camilla Johansson, the head of elderly care in the Jönköping municipality, said that this could be a problem because “we know that you can be infected without feeling a single symptom”.

Significantly more 80-year-olds are receiving intensive care treatment for Covid-19 in Sweden compared with the spring, when there were concerns about prioritisation methods denying patients in their 80s intensive care treatment in order to keep places available. 

In early May, 11 people or seven percent of new admissions to intensive care were over 80, the highest number of the spring. By mid-November, 25 over-80s were admitted that week, corresponding to 16 percent. 

Sten Walther, associate professor, doctor and the National Board of Health and Welfare’s expert on Covid-19 and intensive care, said it was impossible to say why the change had happened, but that one reason could be increased understanding of how to treat over-80s with Covid-19 and that there was a chance of survival despite high mortality among the age group.

“In the data set the reasons are not visible. But today we know that 80-year-olds’ results [from the treatment] are by no means hopeless,” he told the TT newswire.

The government is extending a rule change which means you won’t need to provide a doctor’s note when off sick from work until after two weeks of sickness, Dagens Nyheter reports.

The requirement for a doctor’s note after the first week of sickness was first suspended in March in order to reduce the number of people visiting primary care centres and so reduce the burden on healthcare workers.

December 9th:

Another 96 people have been confirmed dead after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing Sweden’s total death toll to 7,296. A total of 304,793 people have tested positive to date, and 3,493 Covid-19 patients have been admitted to intensive care since the start of the outbreak.

Stockholm is now reporting that 99 percent of its intensive care beds are currently occupied, both by Covid-19 patients and other patients. You can read more in Swedish on DN, and here’s The Local’s article in English.

The government wants to introduce a temporary pandemic law, giving it increased powers to make decisions to curb the spread of an infectious disease such as the coronavirus.

The Swedish government is currently not able to close down places that are not covered by the Public Order Act, which has limited its power to act during the crisis, compared to many other countries. The new law would cover public gatherings and public events, but would also include leisure and cultural venues, for example gyms. It would also apply to shopping centres and public transport, and party venues, but not to people’s homes.

The government will now consult various expert agencies and authorities as well as other parties in parliament to fine-tune the details, and if approved the law would come into force on March 15th, said Health Minister Lena Hallengren. Read more here.

Everyone living in Sweden aged over 18 – and children in risk groups – will be offered the Covid-19 vaccine within the first six months of 2021, pledged Health Minister Lena Hallengren and Marie Morell, head of the healthcare department of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, at a press conference late on Tuesday.

Vaccinations are currently expected to get under way after Epiphany, and will initially be offered to risk groups. The state is responsible for securing the doses – which it has done through EU deals – and paying for them, and the regions are in charge of the vaccination process. Vaccinations are intended to be free for each individual.

December 8th:

A total of 297,732 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 7,200 fatalities and 3,459 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

The government announced the national coronavirus recommendations which will apply over the festive period. The key message was to meet as few people as possible, sticking to a ‘bubble’ of no more than eight people total.

We asked The Local’s readers what measures they would like to see in Sweden, and the most common responses were a recommendation or obligation to wear face masks; improvements to the testing and contact tracing systems; and stricter enforcement of existing recommendations. Read more here.

December 4th:

A total of 278,912 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 7,067 fatalities and 3,384 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has acknowledged that he underestimated the number of Covid-19 deaths in mid-November, when the number of deaths reached levels not seen since May. Here’s what he said when asked about this at the press conference yesterday, and his answer to The Local’s follow-up question.

The Public Health Agency is preparing a plan for how Sweden will carry out coronavirus vaccinations once the first doses of vaccine are approved, and has outlined the next steps. The government expects to eventually be able to offer vaccinations to everyone aged over 18, and has pledged that they will be free for each individual.

The groups that will get access to the first doses are:

  •     People staying in elderly care homes or people receiving social care support at home
  •     People who come into contact with vulnerable people in elderly care, healthcare and other social care
  •     Adults who live together with people who receive social care support at home

December 3rd:

A total of 272,643 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 7,007 fatalities and 3,364 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Sweden’s upper secondary schools are again closing their doors to students from Monday until after Christmas. The decision means that upper secondary schools (generally teenagers aged around 16-18 in Sweden) will have to quickly switch back to online teaching for the rest of the semester, from December 7th until January 6th.

December 2nd:

Another 174 deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus were confirmed today, bringing Sweden’s total death toll to 6,972. There’s still a delay in how the regions report their data, so those are not all people who died in the past 24 hours, but be that as it may, as many people are now dying as in late spring, early summer.

A total of 266,158 people have tested positive in Sweden to date, and 3,325 Covid-19 patients have at one point been admitted to intensive care.

We are expecting new recommendations regarding the Christmas holidays to come next week, but for now, here’s a paywall-free link to Sweden’s current rules and guidelines on how to help curb the spread of the virus.

The Swedish foreign ministry has extended its advice against travel to Ireland, Latvia and Estonia until at least December 16th. Here’s a link to the latest travel warnings.

December 1st:

Symptom-free children should stay home from school if someone in their household tests positive for Covid-19, according to a new decision by the Public Health Agency. This recommendation was previously in place for adults and older teenagers, but has now been extended to young children. However, the agency said the decision was mainly intended to “create a calm working atmosphere” for worried teachers, and would have little effect on the spread of infection. We’ve written more about the decision here.

A total of 260,758 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,798 fatalities and 3,302 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

“We clearly have a wide spread of infection which really hasn’t stopped, and which we all need to help out to get under control,” said state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who said the rise in cases affected all age groups.

He said that authorities were working on recommendations ahead of the Christmas period, which are likely be made public early next week.

Thomas Lindén, department head at the National Board of Health and Welfare, said that Sweden currently has 666 intensive care beds with ventilators, of which 464 are occupied, 237 of them Covid-19 patients.

It’s the first time since spring that the majority of patients in intensive care have Covid-19.

Outside intensive care, a further 1,802 Covid-19 patients are receiving care in Sweden’s hospitals.

“The healthcare sector is getting better and better at understanding and managing the emergency cases, but major challenges remain,” said Lindén.

November 27th:

A total of 243,129 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,681 fatalities and 3,208 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

The Blekinge region is now getting local coronavirus guidelines (allmänna råd) issued by the Public Health Agency, starting December 1st. The region has previously had its own recommendations in place, but this decision means that all Swedish regions will now be subject to the Public Health Agency’s local guidelines. In practice, Blekinge’s own recommendations were fairly similar, so this is not a huge change.

The Public Health Agency has said it will announce coronavirus measures for the Christmas season next week, but state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell says a total ban on non-essential travel won’t happen.

“We will not end up with some kind of total travel ban,” he told Thursday’s press conference. “It will be possible to travel, but you have to do it in a very responsible way.”

Under current recommendations, people in certain regions are urged to avoid non-essential travel within and from the region, while in most places, a recommendation to avoid public transport applies if possible. Under national recommendations, everyone in Sweden is asked to choose alternative methods of transport (ideally private means such as a car, cycling or walking, or an option where you can pre-book a ticket if those are not possible) instead of public transport as much as they can.

Of course, for people living in a different country to their family, Christmas travel is a different question. There are still many restrictions on international travel, particularly to non-EU countries, and limited flight availability.

Companies receiving financial support for reduced turnover due to the pandemic will be eligible for more money than previously announced, after the government agreed with its partners the Centre and Liberal parties on the details.

Additional support for short-term lay-offs, which tops up the pay of employees who temporarily have no work, will be in place until next summer. Support for loss in turnover will also be in place until at least the end of 2020.

The government and its partners have now agreed on the threshold at which companies will be eligible for support. They will need to have lost at least 40 percent in turnover during the August-October period, and 30 percent during the November-December period. According to the TT newswire, the same rules will apply to sole traders. If you’re an affected business owner, more information on coronavirus support can be found at Verksamt.

November 26th:

A total of 236,355 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,622 fatalities and 3,187 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Two members of Sweden’s royal family, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, are quarantining after testing positive for Covid-19, the Swedish Royal Court announced on Thursday.

Sweden’s current coronavirus outbreak is expected to peak in mid-December based on a new scenario presented by the Public Health Agency and government on Thursday. But the actual outcome depends on several factors, including crucially whether people follow current recommendations, such as keeping a distance in public and only having close contact with people you live with (or one or two other people if you live alone).

If that does not happen, the outcome will be worse, Public Health Agency director Johan Carlson said. He explained that because the coronavirus is a new virus it is not possible to compare to how it has developed in previous years, so it relies on a mathematical model based on what we know about the situation now, and is sensitive to several external factors.

November 25th:

A total of 230,514 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,555 fatalities and 3,162 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

More and more people are buying face masks at Swedish pharmacies, reports the TT news agency, despite the country being among the very few in the world that have not issued an official coronavirus recommendation to wear face masks in crowded spaces.

More resources are needed for patients with long-term symptoms of Covid-19, according to the Svenska Covidförening, a patients’ association with over 1,400 members. The association recently released a report highlighting some of the problems faced by sufferers of the condition known as ‘long Covid’.

“It is a huge problem that it is not talked about. There is a great risk that people’s perception is that the problem does not exist. And we want to show that it actually does,” said chairperson Åsa Kristoferson Hedlund.

She compared the situation in Sweden with that of the UK, where money has been allocated to open dozens of specialist clinics for those with long-term symptoms.

A report shared by Sweden’s healthcare watchdog on Tuesday was highly critical of the treatment of some care home residents during the coronavirus pandemic, including that some patients died without ever being given an assessment by a doctor.

Of the 6,500 deaths linked to Covid-19 in Sweden, nearly half have occurred at elderly care homes and a quarter have been elderly people being cared for at home. You can read more about the conclusions of the report here.

November 24th:

A total of 225,560 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,500 fatalities and 3,125 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

The regional restrictions have been extended until at least December 13th in all regions except Blekinge, which is the only one not to have stricter recommendations agreed with the Public Health Agency. Blekinge’s restrictions are very similar to those in place elsewhere, but are currently set to be in place on November 30th. You can read more about the recommendations in every region here.

November 23rd:

All public events in Sweden for more than eight people will be banned after the country’s regions agreed to lower the limit for seated events from 50 to eight people. The decision, confirmed to The Local by a press spokesperson for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR), comes a week after the government announced a ban on public events for more than eight people.

The ban applies to public events such as concerts, performances, and sports matches, but not to places like schools or workplaces or to private gatherings. The government has granted an exemption for funerals, which may have up to 20 people present. Read more here.

Skåne, the southernmost region of Sweden, may see the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital peak around the Christmas holidays, reports regional newspaper Sydsvenskan.

This is based on three scenarios hospital management developed a few months ago. The worst-case scenario, based on the situation in Stockholm in spring, would lead to 250 Covid-19 patients in hospital and another 30 in intensive care, explains the TT newswire.

“Unfortunately we can’t say for certain that we’ve broken the curve. Our hope is that the tightened general guidelines for Skåne will lead to that, but we don’t know,” Mats E Persson, head of the Skåne regional crisis management team, told Sydsvenskan.

A total of 151 Covid-19 patients are currently being treated in hospital in Skåne, and 19 in intensive care, according to the region’s latest available data on Sunday.

November 22nd:

Here’s a rare update from us on a weekend, because Prime Minister Stefan Löfven gave a rare address to the nation today. There were no new announcements, but he focused a lot on personal responsibility, urging everyone to do their part to curb the spread of coronavirus “as we head into the winter darkness”.

“The things we do wrong now as a country, we will suffer for later. The things we do right, will give us joy later,” he said, adding that people should limit their close contacts to those in the same household, or if they live alone, to one or two people (and remember to keep a physical distance to each other). “What we do now will affect what our Lucia celebrations will look like. What Christmas celebrations will look like. Who will still be there with us this Christmas. It may sound harsh. It may sound brutal. But reality is exactly that harsh and brutal.”

He also stressed “to you who feel that everything is dark” that there was still hope. “Healthcare and social care is working, despite everything. Houses and roads are being built, despite everything. Our children are receiving an education and desire to learn, despite everything. We should take the situation very seriously, but we should do so with restraint, firmness and courage.”

Read Löfven’s full speech in English here.

November 20th:

A total of 208,295 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,406 fatalities and 3,042 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

The cities of Stockholm and Malmö announced that they would close museums, galleries, gyms and public swimming baths in order to slow the spread of infection. Stockholm also imposed a ban on visits to sheltered housing for the elderly. Malmö said it did not yet want to ban visits to elderly care facilities. 

Sweden’s business minister Ibrahim Baylan called for people to avoid crowding when shopping ahead of this Christmas, following a meeting with the retail trade body Svensk Handel. The government has not so far signalled that it plans to order shops or shopping centres to close. 

Sweden’s ban on the sale of alcohol after 10pm comes into force today. Most municipalities are asking bars and restaurants serving alcohol to close by 10.30pm. Lund will allow them to stay open later, so long as they only serve weak beer or soft drinks. Malmö, Växjö and Nacka will allow bars and restaurants to serve take-out alcohol for consumption at home.

November 19th: 

A total of 201,055 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,340 fatalities and 3,016 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

A coronavirus expert group set up by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which promotes science in Sweden, has issued a report recommending the use of face masks as “an important measure” to reduce the spread of infection indoors and on public transport. Here’s our short article on the report. 

The Swedish Public Health Agency advised regions to change their testing guidelines so that those without symptoms are no longer advised to seek tests for active coronavirus infections. The new guidelines also recommended them to stop people having repeat tests over a short period. 

Regional infectious diseases doctors complained about the government’s decision to except seated events from its proposal for limit public gatherings to eight people. In their formal response to the government’s proposal, the Association of Infectious Diseases Doctors argued that “tough measures in all possible environments” were necessary to bring the infection under control. 

November 18th:

A total of 196,446 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,321 fatalities and 3,002 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

The Swedish foreign ministry has extended its advice against travel to three EU countries until at least December 2nd.

Hospital staff at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm are once again working lengthy shifts of 12.5 hours to handle the pressure caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The World Health Organisation said “masks work” in response to a question about whether recommending mask-wearing would be a useful addition to the Swedish strategy, but stopped short of saying Sweden should introduce such a recommendation. 

November 17th:

A total of 192,439 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,225 fatalities and 2,974 intensive care admissions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

November 16th:

Sweden is set to lower the limit of attendees at public events to eight people, to come into effect on November 24th. The new limit applies only to public events and not private gatherings, with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven saying “we can’t regulate every social gathering” but urging people to follow the new limit at all kinds of events.

The limit will be part of the Public Order Act and therefore is a law, not a recommendation like many of Sweden’s coronavirus measures. It is currently set to apply for four weeks, but could be extended.

“It’s going to get worse. Do your duty and take responsibility to stop the spread of infection. I’ll say it again. It’s going to get worse. Do your duty and take responsibility to stop the spread of infection,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at the press conference on Monday. Read what we know so far HERE.

“There should not be social situations with more than eight people even if they are not formally affected by the law. This is the new norm for the whole society, for all of Sweden. Don’t go to the gym. Don’t go to the library. Don’t have dinners. Don’t have parties. Cancel,” said Löfven.

This is the lowest limit Sweden has had on attendees at public events over the course of the pandemic. The limit was reduced to 50 in March, and was raised to 300 in late October for certain types of seated events only – although several regions chose to keep the lower limit of 50, so it practice the increased limit had little effect.

An earlier exemption which meant restaurants were excluded from the limit on event attendees will also be removed when the law change comes into effect. Previously, restaurants have been allowed to host events for more than 50 people, but this will no longer be the case. More than eight people will still be allowed in restaurants at the same time (although not as part of the same group) but the change means restaurants will in practice not be able to host events such as music performances due to the eight-person limit on events.

November 13th:

The number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date jumped today from 171,365 to 177,355. Those are not all people who tested positive in the past 24 hours, due to a delay in how Swedish regions report their data, but still shows that the number of new cases is on a sharply rising curve right now.

A total of 6,164 people have to date passed away after testing positive for coronavirus (that’s an increase of 42 compared to the data reported yesterday – again not all from the past 24 hours, but a figure that keeps rising).

We have updated our article that gives you nine graphs and maps that explain the situation in Sweden.

November 12th:

A total of 171,365 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,122 fatalities and 2,881 intensive care admisssions, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest data.

Talks between the leaders of Sweden’s political parties about the coronavirus epidemic and response have been restarted in the form of a video call on Wednesday evening, after similar meetings took place in spring. 

Stockholm has banned visits to elderly care homes from November 12th to 30th after a rise in infections in care home settings, while Gothenburg plans to introduce a similar ban within the next few days.

Sweden has rolled out local coronavirus measures to Dalarna, Gotland, Värmland and Västmanland.

With these additions, that means 17 of Sweden’s 21 regions are currently subject to stricter restrictions issued by the Public Health Agency (allmänna råd or ‘general recommendations’). These are not legally binding, so there are no fines for violating them, but are at the same time not considered optional and do have a basis in the Communicable Diseases Act. The Blekinge region has also introduced its own regional recommendations.

Effective immediately, the new rules mean that people in the four regions are urged to:

  • If possible, avoid having physical contact with other people than those you live with. That includes among other things a recommendation against organising or attending a party or similar social occasion. You should also avoid certain kinds of activities if they cannot be carried out without physical distance to others, such as contact sports or health or beauty care that is not medically justified.
  • Refrain from being in indoor environment such as shops, shopping centres, museums, libraries, swimming pools and gyms, with the exception of for example grocery stores and pharmacies.
  • Refrain from taking part in meetings, concerts, shows, sports training, matches or competitions. This does not apply to sports training for children and young people born 2005 or later.

People living in Dalarna, Värmland and Västmanland are also urged to:

  • Avoid unnecessary travel. Travelling within or between regions could contribute to increased spread of infection because you often meet new people, which starts new chains of transmission. You should therefore, as far as it is possible, refrain from such travel. This recommendation is not intended to prevent people from, for example, going to work, studies/employment or healthcare which requires physical presence.

November 11th:

The Swedish government is proposing a ban on the sale of alcohol in bars after 10pm, to curb the rapidly increasing spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said at a press conference. This is a legislative measure, so it will have to pass through parliament first, and would come into force on November 20th.

This effectively means that venues with an alcohol licence must close at 10.30pm at the latest.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven urged people to take their responsibility: “It also seems like we are moving towards darker times when it comes to the spread of infection […] Every decision we take makes a difference.”

We wrote more about this HERE and translates Löfven’s speech in full HERE.

A total of 166,707 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,082 fatalities and 2,866 intensive care admisssions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

November 10th:

At today’s coronavirus update from Swedish authorities, The Local asked Sara Byfors of the Swedish Public Health Agency if there were any plans to update national data of cases, deaths and intensive care admissions on Mondays or over the weekends.

She said: “No, not that I’m aware of and the reason that we don’t have it is that the statistics are so incomplete on Mondays that it’s difficult to make any judgments of the epidemic from that, so not at this time.”

When we asked if it would be possible to get more complete statistics on Monday, she said: “I think that’s difficult right now.”

A total of 162,240 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,057 fatalities and 2,851 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

The number of Covid-19 patients receiving hospital treatment is increasing in Sweden’s five most populated regions. In Stockholm, that figure is 349 according to the latest update, 146 in Västra Götaland, 111 in Skåne, 67 in Östergötland and 69 in Uppsala. You can read more about that here – take care and stay safe.

The Social Democrat-Green government and its partners in parliament, the Centre and Liberals, have agreed on new measures for businesses hit by the pandemic, extending for example furloughing support and a business transition support scheme. Here are the latest updates.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his wife have ended their corona self-isolation, after testing negative and consulting with a doctor, his press secretary said. Löfven went into isolation last week after a person in his vicinity had met someone who later turned out to have Covid-19, although Löfven himself was not ill.

He is not the only party leader taking that precaution. On Sunday Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderates, went into self-quarantine after one of his co-workers tested positive, and the Centre Party’s Annie Lööf did the same after a co-worker experienced cold symptoms. Neither of the two politicians have symptoms.

The Local asked Sara Byfors of the Public Health Agency if members of the public should isolate if they find themselves in the same situation as the prime minister, where a contact of a contact tests negative.

Byfors explained: “It is up to the region and to the smittskyddsläkare [infectious disease doctor] in that region, and also the doctor that makes the test result to the individual, to decide what is a close contact and what is not. So that is not something you can say on a general basis. Stefan Löfven had the possibility to work from home and then you can do that, because that’s a recommendation we have for everybody. You have to decide in each case.” 

Read more about the guidance for people who have been in contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19 in the article below.

November 9th:

The Swedish foreign ministry has just extended its advisory against non-essential travel to all countries outside the EU, EEA or Schengen area (except the UK) until January 31st next year. Here’s the latest information.

November 6th:

A total of 146,461 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,022 fatalities and 2,794 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

Sole traders should soon be able to apply for coronavirus support to make up for lost revenue due to the coronavirus during spring and summer, with applications set to open on November 9th.

Coronavirus outbreaks have been found on a total of ten mink farms in Sweden, but the country has decided not to follow Denmark in culling all its minks. In Denmark, around 15 million minks will be culled after a new mutation of the coronavirus began to spread among both minks and humans, with fears this could make a potential vaccine less effective. But Sweden has not yet seen a mutation of the virus.

The UK will reimpose quarantine on travellers from Sweden, meaning anyone travelling from Sweden to the UK will again be required to quarantine for 14 days from Saturday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Thursday evening. 

November 5th:

A total of 141,764 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 6,002 fatalities and 2,782 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

Stricter local recommendations have been rolled out in two new regions, Södermanland and Kronoberg. This includes a recommendation to avoid indoor environments such as shops and museums, with an exception for essential visits such as buying groceries and pharmacies, and a recommendation to avoid all physical contact with people from a different household.

“By avoiding physical contact, we mean that you should not socialise with others at a distance of 1.5 metres, and it is especially important to avoid this kind of contact that lasts longer than 15 minutes,” said Karin Tegmark Wisell, head of the Public Health Agency’s department for microbiology.

She added that essential contact, such as doctor’s visits, was not included in this.

Here’s a reminder of the recommendations that apply wherever you live in Sweden (paywall-free).

Lithuania has now been removed from the Swedish foreign ministry’s travel advisory list, which means it is one of the countries to where Swedes can travel for any reason, including tourism. Read more here.

November 4th:

A total of 137,730 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,997 fatalities and 2,763 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

It’s increasing quite fast now, and in the Skåne region authorities today warned people to really follow the local coronavirus rules as it reported a growing number of new cases and Covid-19 patients in hospital. Skåne regional director Alf Jönsson told a press conference today: “Each and everyone of us has to ask the question: Do I have to go inside this shop, right now, today? Do I have to meet my colleagues at afterwork [the ‘Swedish’ word for drinks after work], at work, tonight? Do I have to go to that party I’ve been invited to on Saturday? Do I have to?”

November 3rd:

A total of 134,532 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,969 fatalities and 2,750 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

Three further regions are now covered by stricter local restrictions: Halland, Jönköping and Örebro. That means that eight regions out of 21, or 70 percent of the Swedish population, are now covered by local measures. 

The exact measures are decided by regional authorities together with the Public Health Agency, and vary between regions. But some common factors include avoiding physical contact with people you do not live with, and that employers should ensure that employees are able to work from home if the nature of their work allows. The latter is also part of the national recommendations that apply everywhere, but is especially crucial in the regions under local measures.

Sweden has also announced tougher coronavirus measures for the country’s restaurants, with a new rule that only groups of eight people or fewer will be permitted. Public Health Agency general director Johan Carlson emphasised that the recommendation to limit social contacts should still be followed, so that families of three people, for example, should go to restaurants as a group of three.

At Tuesday’s press conference with Swedish authorities, The Local had a chance to ask state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell two questions. Firstly, we asked state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell for clarification on whether the local recommendation to avoid indoor environments applied to restaurants.

“Restaurants are regulated according to other laws and regulations, that’s why it’s not repeated here. And also for most of the regions we have talked to, they don’t really see in their contact tracing that restaurants are a major cause of spread of the disease and that’s why we have not repeated the advice here. There is lots of advice on how to avoid the spread in restaurants,” he explained. 

We also asked if Sweden had changed its stance on the importance of airborne transmission of the virus, and whether this was reflected in the new measures.

“There has been a lot of discussion on airborne or droplet transmission,” he said. “I think, to me and the agency, that’s not really important. We do realise that both kinds of spread can occur, droplet is by far the most important one which you can also see if you look at the homepage of [the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC and others.

“We believe that the most important thing now is to be able to localise which is the environment where we see spread, and we need to avoid those environments and places. And the problem we have right now is there’s a fair amount of private parties, work-related meetings and so on, and that’s the kind of activities that we now need to reduce.”

November 2nd:

So many Stockholmers have been ordering home test kits for Covid-19 that regional health authorities have decided to temporarily pause the scheme until Thursday while they work their way through a backlog of 16,000 tests. This only affects tests for people who order their home test kits themselves via Sweden’s healthcare website 1177.se, not other testing such as that of patients and staff in the healthcare sector, nor elderly care.

October 30th:

A total of 124,355 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,938 fatalities and 2,712 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, five Swedish regions have so far introduced tighter coronavirus recommendations on a regional level. We’ve put together a round-up of what the rules are where you live.

The day after people in Skåne were advised to avoid public transport, rush hour traffic fell 10 percent. The Local spoke to the local traffic director about how he’s using an online map to cut congestion and fight coronavirus.

Sweden marks All Saints’ Day on October 31st, usually by gathering at cemeteries to remember dead relatives. This year, authorities have reminded people to avoid crowding at the busiest sites, such as the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, by spreading their visit out through the week, choosing a less popular time to go, or even marking the day online instead. Some chapels and churches have opted to close on Saturday to ensure that people remain outdoors, while others are live-streaming their ceremonies rather than allow visitors.

October 29th:

A total of 121,167 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,934 fatalities and 2,698 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said that the spread of infection was still lower than in the spring, with many more cases discovered now because of limited testing capacity in the first few months of the pandemic.

At today’s press conference, it was announced that three more regions will be getting stricter local regulations: Stockholm, Västra Götaland and Östergötland. These restrictions will initially be in place up until November 19th and include the following:

  • Avoid indoor environments such as shops, shopping centres, museums, gyms and libraries
  • Avoid contact with people from a different household as much as possible, including by not organising or attending parties, after-work drinks, or similar social occasions

The authorities present at the press conference included infectious disease physicians from all three affected regions.

Businesses such as shops and employers were also urged to take measures to reduce the risk of spreading infection, including urging all employees who can do so to work from home, and reducing the numbers of visitors in shops.

The Local attended the press conference digitally, and asked Anders Tegnell about the importance of working from home. Many of our readers have reported being required to go into the workplace even when they can carry out their roles from home, and during the press conference workplaces were named as a key source of new infections.

“It’s very important to work from home when you can and the work permits [this], and both of them need to be in place. It’s very difficult to say that anyone is doing anything wrong with this,” he replied.

“But in the local advice we’re now issuing, it’s very clear that we are asking both employers and employees to do their best to make it possible to work from home as much as possible.”

We also asked for clarity on the new local recommendations to avoid socialising with people from a different household. The recommendations state: “If possible, avoid having physical contact with people other than those you live with. This includes, among other things, a recommendation against arranging or taking part in a party or similar social occasion.”

“I think the main thing here is to understand what’s behind this. What we need to do is to minimise our social contacts and especially new social contacts, and that’s what it’s all about. You really need to avoid meeting people you don’t meet normally,” he said.

With these additions, that means five of Sweden’s 21 regions are now subject to stricter restrictions, after Skåne and Uppsala introduced them earlier.

Residents of Canada, Georgia and Tunisia, who were earlier exempted from a ban to enter the EU through Sweden, are no longer automatically allowed into the country, after they were removed from the list of exemptions today. The change will come into effect on November 2nd. They and other non-EU countries are still covered by a number of other exemptions however, such as moving to Sweden for work, studies or urgent family reasons.

October 28th:

Another 1,678 people tested positive for coronavirus in Stockholm in the past four days (October 23rd-27th). That’s an increase from 905 the same period last week, and follows a steady increase of infections in the Swedish capital region in recent weeks. Last week, 2,966 people tested positive – up from 1,657 the week before.

The number of people in hospital care is also increasing in Stockholm. A total of 119 Covid-19 patients are being treated in emergency hospitals or geriatric care, according to the region’s latest update. That’s 34 more than the previous update (Friday last week). Of those, 14 are in intensive care, five more than in the last report.

A total of 117,913 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,927 fatalities and 2,686 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

October 27th:

A total of 115,785 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,918 fatalities and 2,683 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

Last week the number of new weekly coronavirus cases in Sweden increased by 70 percent and the outbreak is approaching “a critical point”, said state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell. A total of 55 people were being treated for Covid-19 in intensive care on Monday.

Southern region Skåne has tightened its coronavirus recommendations, urging everyone to avoid public transport and indoor environments such as malls, museums, libraries, and gyms. Grocery stores and pharmacies will be OK to visit if necessary, report Swedish media.

People in the region should also avoid close social contact with people outside their households. The restrictions are currently in place until November 17th.

October 26th:

Sweden’s health authority did not have enough money to replace a stockpile of emergency protective equipment after destroying it this summer because it had become too old to use, according to Swedish public radio’s investigative journalism programme Kaliber. Read our latest update here.

October 23rd:

A total of 110,594 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,933 fatalities and 2,663 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

Residents of the Uppsala region this week found themselves affected by Sweden’s first local coronavirus measures, requiring them to avoid public transport and contact with people outside their households. On Thursday, Uppsala region’s director of healthcare Mikael Köhler opened a press conference rebutting comments made earlier that day by state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell that the situation “may have already started to turn around” in Uppsala.

“We still have a serious situation,” said Köhler. Read more here.

October 22nd:

A total of 108,969 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,930 fatalities and 2,660 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

People aged over 70 or in other risk groups at high risk of severe illness from the coronavirus will no longer be covered by special recommendations, the government announced. Previously, these groups were required to avoid close physical contact with people outside their household, and to avoid areas with large numbers of people such as shops and public transport. Now, the existing national recommendations apply to everyone regardless of their age and risk factor. These recommendations have not been changed, and include keeping a distance from others in public places, staying at home if symptomatic, and working from home if possible.

At today’s press conference, Public Health Agency analyst Lisa Brouwers says the agency’s data showed that the stricter recommendations for the elderly and at-risk had likely saved around 1,000 lives. However, the agency said it was no longer justifiable to impose such strict recommendations on vulnerable groups. 

Another big change announced today was that the cap on attendees at public events will be raised to 300, only at events with designated seating and a one-metre minimum distance between attendees (or groups of two if attending together). These new changes come into force from November 1st. Meanwhile, nightclubs will be subject once again to a limit of 50 people, along with all other public events that cannot ensure designated seating and distancing. 

And the ban on entry to Sweden from outside the EU has been extended untli December 22nd, although exemptions apply to people travelling from certain countries or for certain purposes.

October 21st:

A total of 107,355 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,929 fatalities and 2,655 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

We have heard from a lot of readers asking exactly how strict Sweden’s recommendations are, whether they can be considered ‘voluntary’, and what the difference is between the national recommendations and the new local rules for Uppsala. We’ve explained it as clearly as we can here, and the short version is: they are not optional, but you are unlikely to face legal sanctions for violating them.

For most of the recommendations aimed at private individuals, there is no enforcement in the sense of checks, fines or punishment, but these recommendations still have a basis in law, and they are all in place to protect public health.

October 20th:

Uppsala has become the first region in Sweden to introduce local coronavirus measures after that became possible yesterday. That means that until November 3rd, everyone in the area is urged to avoid public transport, avoid contact with people other than those you live with, and avoid organising or attending parties or social gatherings. The changes also mean stricter recommendations for workplaces (everyone should work from home who can do), shops, and sports facilities, which should all limit the number of people present at any one time.

Across the country, since the start of the outbreak Sweden has recorded a total of 5,922 deaths, 2,653 intensive care admissions, and 106,380 cases of the coronavirus.

And on a national level, Sweden’s government plans to bring in a temporary pandemic law allowing it to limit numbers of people on public transport, in shopping centres, and in swimming pools. We don’t have many details about what this might look like yet, but the idea would be to fill in gaps where legislation currently doesn’t allow the government to make quick changes. The aim is for the law to be in place next summer.

The maths professor who is one of Sweden’s foremost epidemiological modellers has suggested 4,000 coronavirus deaths could have been avoided this spring if the country had put in place restrictions similar to those in Norway and Denmark.

The pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways this year, and we are always interested to hear our readers’ experiences. We are currently working on an article about how the coronavirus has changed the winter holiday season for international residents of Sweden: let us know by filling out our questionnaire.

October 19th:

Starting today, Sweden’s regional health authorities have increased powers to ask for stricter coronavirus recommendations in response to local outbreaks. Here’s a quick overview of what that means. For now, nothing concrete has changed — regions now have the powers to work with national authorities on introducing local measures, but none have been introduced as yet. 

Despite no full lockdown, Sweden’s hospitality industry has suffered due to the pandemic. Lunch restaurants in city centres and near office blocks have been hardest hit, according to a new survey from a trade organisation which said businesses in this category have lost on average half their income.

The next update on the total number of cases, deaths, and intensive care admissions for the coronavirus in Sweden will be tomorrow at 2pm, as Sweden updates its data Tuesday-Friday.

October 16th:

A total of 103,200 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,918 fatalities and 2,645 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

In Stockholm, health authorities have presented a plan for who will get access to a new Covid-19 vaccine first, once it becomes available. Elderly people, risk groups and healthcare workers will be first in line, followed by other adults, and then children last. You can read more about it here.

October 15th:

A total of 102,407 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,910 deaths and 2,641 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

As of today, 30 people are receiving treatment for Covid-19 in Sweden. “That’s 8 percent of all patients who are currently in intensive care,” said Thomas Lindén, department head at the National Board of Health and Welfare.

A further 170 people are receiving hospital treatment in other departments, and Lindén said that most regions anticipate the situation will deteriorate either in the short or long term.

Once again, the authorities emphasised the importance of following the recommendations in place, particularly limiting social contacts and keeping a distance from other people.

“Try to work from home, don’t join after-work drinks, the major message is to avoid social occasions. It’s there that we clearly see where the increase [in infection] is happening,” said state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell.

He was asked about the response from regions to the new possibility of introducing additional local guidelines from Monday. According to Tegnell, no regions are currently planning to do this, because they are not judged necessary.

Doctors in the Stockholm region have warned that patients’ safety will be put at risk if changes don’t take place to combat staff shortages, lack of hospital beds, and overburdened emergency departments.

“During the corona pandemic there has been a discussion about how you should choose between different patients in a situation where our resources are not sufficient. This has worried many. What few realise is that this dilemma was a reality for us even before the pandemic, and will continue to be the case unless major changes take place,” they wrote in an opinion piece.

October 14th:

A total of 101,332 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,907 deaths and 2,640 intensive care admissions, according to data presented by the Public Health Agency today.

We started this coronavirus blog at the start of the pandemic in Sweden, and have kept it paywall-free throughout. A lot of paying members have told us that you appreciate getting the most important news in one place, so we have now started doing a daily round-up of the latest news in Sweden in general just for you.

Do please let us know what you think, if you would prefer a weekly round-up, if you like how we’ve included a Swedish vocabulary in the article, or if you would prefer the article in a blog format like this corona blog. Our email is [email protected], and even if we don’t reply we do read your emails and they help guide our work.

October 13th:

A total of 100,654 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sweden to date, including 5,899 deaths and 2,634 intensive care admissions. Several regions are reporting an increase in new cases, with Stockholm, Uppsala, Örebro, Jämtland and Härjedalen highlighted at today’s Public Health Agency press conference.

Sweden is set to tighten its coronavirus recommendations on October 19th, making it possible for regional authorities to introduce additional local guidelines if needed. You can read more about that here. Such local guidelines could include urging people to avoid public transport or shopping centres, but these are just examples.

Pictures and videos of people partying in crowded Stockholm nightclubs amid rising cases of the coronavirus have sparked concern and anger in Sweden. And several politicians have hit the headlines after getting too close to friends and acquaintances at a series of birthday parties. Read more about this story here.

October 9th:

Two more people have been added to Sweden’s coronavirus fatalities, bringing the total number to 5,894. A total of 98,451 people have tested positive since the start of the outbreak, and 2,624 have received intensive care treatment.

Sweden’s minister for higher education warned students today to follow coronavirus guidelines after eight Swedish regions reported outbreaks linked to universities, especially unofficial student parties.

A recent increase in Covid-19 infections in Sweden has resulted in Denmark’s foreign ministry now advising against non-essential travel to 8 of the country’s 21 regions.

Sweden’s Public Health Agency has shared more details about the restrictions that could be brought in locally to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including caps on numbers of people allowed in shops. Here’s the latest news.

October 8th:

The number of deaths linked to the coronavirus remains at 5,892 (no change from yesterday), while a total of 97,532 people have tested positive for the virus since the start of the outbreak (up from 96,677), of whom 2,623 have received treatment in intensive care (up from 2,622).

Sweden has for the second time postponed plans to raise the limit on the number of people allowed at public events. The limit today is set at 50 (although this doesn’t apply to private events like weddings or parties, nor to schools, workplaces or shopping centres) and the government had planned to raise this to 500 for certain seated events. 

Swedish health authorities have warned of sharp rises in the rate of coronavirus infection, in some cases thought to be linked to sports teams or private gatherings and parties. So which parts of the country are seeing the biggest rise? These maps show which areas have seen the most new cases.

October 7th:

Sweden on Wednesday lifted its advisory against non-essential travel to Slovenia and Malta, but extended it until October 21st for the EU countries that have not yet been removed from the list of travel warnings.

Swedish health authorities have highlighted some regions that are seeing a clear rise in new coronavirus infections, including Stockholm, Uppsala, Skåne and Örebro. You can read more in this article, and we have also updated our in-depth article with eight graphs and maps that help explain the coronavirus situation in Sweden.

The region of Uppsala temporarily postponed non-essential surgery on Tuesday at its main hospital (but planned care resumed today) and is considering imposing a restaurant curfew after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. “It is possible that restaurants will be required to close at 11pm. But no one knows if that will stop the spread or if it will just lead to parties at home,” wrote regional councillor Malin Sjöberg Högrell.

The Italian embassy in Stockholm has criticised Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell for misrepresenting the coronavirus situation in Italy in comments to media. Read his comments here.

October 6th:

Sweden’s total death toll was revised downwards today, to 5,883 people who died within 30 days of testing positive for coronavirus, according to the Public Health Agency’s data. A total of 96,145 people have tested positive since the start of the outbreak and 2,619 people have been treated in intensive care.

From the R-number to case positivity rate, there are a lot of numbers to keep track of when it comes to following the coronavirus. We have just updated these six graphs and maps that give you some of the most essential data for understanding how the pandemic is developing here in Sweden and Stockholm, where cases are on the rise.

October 5th:

Sweden’s measures to curb the spread of coronavirus will likely remain in place for “at least another year”, with the possibility of additional local restrictions, the country’s public health director said. Read more here.

With the Swedish Public Health Agency recommending working from home until at least the end of 2020, many businesses have struggled to adapt – but there are also success stories. Here’s what we learned from hearing what 100 The Local readers had to say about policies at their workplace.

October 2nd:

Another two people have been confirmed dead after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing Sweden’s total death toll to 5,895. Since the start of the outbreak, 2,611 Covid-19 patients have received intensive care treatment and a total of 94,283 people have tested positive.

When The Local asked our readers in Sweden how your working life had changed due to the coronavirus, and how you rated your workplace’s pandemic response, we received many detailed answers. Read the article here.

In just under three weeks, the number of Covid-19 patients receiving intensive care treatment in Sweden has doubled. The number of people in intensive care units for the virus reached a peak in Sweden during in April, with 558 patients on the 25th and 26th of the month. Since then, the total has been steadily decreasing and fell to only 12 on September 11th. But since, the number of people with the coronavirus in intensive care has slowly risen again, reaching 24 on October 1st according to the Swedish Intensive Care Register.

October 1st:

There have been no more deaths linked to coronavirus since yesterday, which means Sweden’s total death toll is still at 5,893. The number of people who have received intensive care treatment also remains the same (2,605) according to the Public Health Agency’s data, and 93,615 people have tested positive since the start of the outbreak.

Sweden has announced new rules for people who live in the same household as someone infected with coronavirus. A doctor may now order them to stay at home. Generally they will have to stay at home for seven days after someone in the household tests positive, but if the other household member does not develop symptoms they should get tested after five days.

People sharing a household with someone who has tested positive are already urged to stay at home if they can, but the main difference now will be that if a doctor orders it it will make it easier to stay at home even if you’ve got a job that doesn’t allow home working. Children are exempt from the new rules. Read more here.

In recent days, the number of hospital patients with Covid-19 in intensive care has increased. In just under three weeks, the number has doubled, from 12 to 24 patients. The number of Covid-19 patients in ICU care had previously been falling since April, when the peak number of 558 patients was recorded on 25th and 26th April. That had fallen to only 12 patients on September 11th.

September 30th:

Another three people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing Sweden’s total death toll to 5,893. A total of 92,863 people have tested positive since the start of the outbreak, and 2,605 corona patients have received intensive care treatment during the course of the outbreak.

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson is making face masks compulsory for employees and visitors to their offices as of Wednesday, according to a report by Reuters. Read more here.

Sweden’s economy is set to make a stronger recovery than expected. But the slump is set to continue for several years ahead – and unemployment has yet to peak, according to new figures.

September 29th:

Another ten people have been confirmed dead after testing positive for coronavirus in Sweden, bringing the country’s total death toll to 5,890 people. A total of 92,466 people have tested positive since the start of the outbreak, and 2,605 corona patients have received intensive care treatment during the course of the outbreak.

A total of 129,000 tests were carried out last week, out of which 2.4 percent were positive, the Public Health Agency’s Karin Tegmark Wisell told the health authorities’ bi-weekly press conference today. That’s an increase from 1.6 percent the previous week.

More and more people are testing positive for coronavirus in Stockholm, new figures show. A total of 923 people tested positive for coronavirus in the Stockholm region last week, an increase compared to the week before when health authorities recorded 537 new confirmed cases of the infection. Stockholm’s health chief urged everyone today to keep working from home if they can and keep a distance of two metres to other people.

Sweden’s limit on the number of people at public events will remain at 50 for now, but the government said it hoped to raise it by October 15th if the coronavirus situation allows – and announced new exceptions for restaurants. The exceptions for restaurants mean that they will be able to invite artists to perform in front of more than 50 diners, as long as the restaurants also keep following social distancing rules. Read more here.

More than 60 students at Mälardalen University in central Sweden have been confirmed infected with the coronavirus, in an outbreak linked by university officials to start-of-term parties. Here’s what we know so far.

September 28th:

Finland has again introduced travel restrictions for travellers from Sweden. You can read more about the current travel restrictions around Europe here, or tap on or hover over each country in the map below:

September 25th:

Two more people have been confirmed dead after testing positive for coronavirus in Sweden, bringing the country’s total death toll to 5,880. A total of 2,599 corona patients have received intensive care treatment over the course of the outbreak, and 90,923 people have tested positive to date.

Sweden has been much harder hit by the coronavirus than its Nordic neighbours, and now after a sharp drop in new cases reported over the summer, the latest figures show they are on the rise again. So what do the figures tell us, and how we worried should we be about a second wave? Here’s what two experts told The Local.

From the R-number to case positivity rate, there are a lot of numbers to keep track of when it comes to following the coronavirus. These seven graphs and maps give you some of the most essential data for understanding how the pandemic is developing here in Sweden.

How does the current situation in Sweden compare to other countries? As the Covid-19 pandemic makes a resurgence, The Local’s journalists around Europe explain the state of play in their country, the measures being in put in place and the mood of the public as concerns of further restrictions and lockdowns grow.

September 24th:

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven urged people to get better at following coronavirus recommendations to curb the rising infection rate in Sweden. No new restrictions were introduced today, and none were lifted, but the government and health authorities urged everyone to work from home if possible. Read more here.

Sweden has now passed 90,000 coronavirus cases, with in total 90,289 people having tested positive since the start of the outbreak. The increase in cases has not yet translated into more serious illnesses, but 2,598 corona patients have received intensive care treatment since the start of the outbreak, and another two people were confirmed dead today, bringing Sweden’s total death toll to 5,878 people.

Health authorities believe that the increase in cases is related to more people returning to work (the official advice is still to work from home if possible), but that is based on the fact that the number of cases is rising among working-age people, rather than definitive evidence, said state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell today.

“(The increase) is not at all as dramatic as what we’re seeing in many other countries in Europe, but it is slowly but surely moving in the wrong direction,” he told the Public Health Agency’s bi-weekly press conference.

People living in Swedish care homes are more likely to report feeling worried, anxious or lonely in 2020 than in previous years, a new study shows.

Almost eight months and an ongoing global pandemic after suspending services, direct SAS flights to Shanghai are set to resume on September 29th, the company has confirmed following approval from Chinese authorities.

September 23rd:

A further six deaths have been reported of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in the previous 30 days, bringing the total death toll to 5,876 since the start  of the outbreak.

A total of 2,596 people have received intensive care treatment for the virus and 89,756 cases have been reported.

September 22nd:

There have been 89,436 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the start of the outbreak in Sweden, according to today’s updated figures. A total of 2,594 coronavirus patients have received intensive care treatment and 5,870 people have passed away after testing positive for the virus, according to the Public Health Agency’s data.

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell warned at today’s bi-weekly press conference that Sweden is seeing an increase in the number of new cases, after having remained at a relatively low level for weeks. “We are in the middle of a pandemic. The number of deaths is still very low, but it’s important not to lose our grip on it,” he said.

He said that local measures could potentially be introduced in the Stockholm region if necessary.

“We are having a discussion about maybe having to introduce further measures to stem the spread of infection in Stockholm,” he said, responding to a question from a reporter at Swedish public radio’s news programme Ekot. “We’re still discussing exactly what, but in the coming days.”

Are Swedish journalists lousy at asking follow-up questions? That’s what columnist Lisa Bjurwald asks in her new column for The Local. Read it here and if you’re a member, join the conversation in the comment section.

September 21st:

As we reported last week, Sweden is no longer updating its coronavirus figures on Mondays, so there is not much to report today. Most of the conversation today is to do with the budget, which was just presented.

Sweden’s foreign ministry today lifted its warning against non-essential travel to Finland and Slovakia, but it extended the warning for countries outside the EU. Read more here.

September 18th:

A total of 88,237 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Sweden to date, and out of those, 5,865 people have passed away. A total of 2,591 corona patients have received intensive care treatment.

A mild flu season could be one of the reasons for Sweden’s comparatively high Covid-19 death rate, Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the figurehead of the country’s coronavirus response has told Dagens Nyheter. But when The Local approached his Norwegian counterpart, Frode Froland, the latter questioned the claim.

Pregnant women should not have to carry out tasks that risk exposing them to the coronavirus in the workplace, according to a new decision by the Swedish work environment watchdog.

September 17th:

There have been 87,885 confirmed coronavirus infections in Sweden to date, with 5,864 people dying after testing positive. A total of 2,590 coronavirus patients have received intensive care treatment over the course of the outbreak.

Swedish health authorities left outdated advice for people who have come into close contact with coronavirus cases on their websites for over a month, The Local has been able to reveal this week. You can read more about that here. The Public Health Agency’s current advice for people who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus is that they should take the following steps:

  •     Avoid close contacts with other people for 14 days
  •     Try to keep at least an arm’s length distance from the sick person, if you share a household with them
  •     Work from home if possible
  •     Keep a close lookout for coronavirus symptoms (and stay at home if you experience any)

EXPLAINED: What’s going on with Sweden’s changing advice for close contacts of coronavirus cases?

September 16th:

Another nine people have been confirmed dead after testing positive for the coronavirus in Sweden. That means Sweden’s death toll now stands at 5,860. There have been 87,575 confirmed infections since the start of the outbreak and 2,588 coronavirus patients have received intensive care treatment.

The biggest news so far today is not the coronavirus, but a new report proposing changes to Swedish migration law. You can read more about that here:

September 15th:

A further five deaths of people who previously tested positive for the coronavirus have been reported in Sweden. That’s the total reported since Friday, after the Public Health Agency’s announcement yesterday that it will no longer publish updates on Mondays. The number of people who tested positive for the virus since the start of the outbreak reached 87,345, while 2,586 have received intensive care treatment for the virus.

“We do not have a large spread of infection in Sweden at the moment,” said state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, though he noted that globally the pandemic had not yet reached its peak.

In Sweden’s intensive care wards, 17 people are currently being treated for Covid-19.

Sweden will lift its nationwide ban on visits to elderly care homes from October 1st, the government announced today.

September 14th:

There is no update to the coronavirus statistics today, as Sweden cuts its updates to four times a week. The reason is the delay in reporting over weekends which meant the Monday data was incomplete.

Sweden has lifted its warning against travel to the UK, which has implications for your travel insurance among other things. Here’s the full breakdown of where Sweden does and doesn’t have travel warnings in place within the EU.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Sweden has seen a spike in divorce filings as well as a sharp rise in unemployment.

September 11th:

Another three deaths linked to the coronavirus have been reported in Sweden, bringing the country’s total death toll to 5,843. Since the start of the outbreak, 2,580 corona patients have been admitted to intensive care, and a total of 86,505 people have tested positive, according to the Public Health Agency’s latest figures.

Passengers from Sweden will from Saturday morning onwards no longer need to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, so The Local asked the Swedish foreign ministry today when it will lift its own travel warning.

Here are some of the other topics we’re covering today:

September 10th:

The UK government has said it will lift its quarantine requirement for travellers from Sweden, so from 4am on Saturday, people travelling from Sweden will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days.

The decision applies to all the devolved administrations in the UK. It is important to be aware that if you arrive before 4am on Saturday, you will still need to isolate for the full 14 days. Read more here.

Note that the Swedish foreign ministry currently advises against all non-essential travel to the UK, until September 23rd. That is not legally binding, but may affect the validity of your travel insurance. It is based on travel restrictions in the UK, so it is highly likely that Sweden will lift its warning in response to today’s news – although at the time of writing please note that we don’t know that for sure and we don’t know when.

One more person has been confirmed dead after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing Sweden’s total death toll to 5,843. There have been 86,194 confirmed infections since the start of the outbreak and a total of 2,579 corona patients have been admitted to intensive care over the course of the outbreak.

Sweden had a sharp drop in cases in early summer, then saw a slight bump around mid-summer which again subsided. There are now small signs that the number of cases may be increasing again, said state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell at today’s press conference. However it is still hard to tell as Sweden tested a record number of people last week. Last week, the country met its testing target for the first time since the start of the outbreak, and the the share of positive tests fell week-on-week from 1.6 percent to 1.2 percent. We’ve written about that here.

Tegnell also warned people thinking of travelling outside of Sweden to make sure their travel insurance is valid. Sweden’s foreign ministry still advises against all non-essential travel outside of the EU as well as to several countries within the EU, and while the advisory is not legally binding it may affect the validity of your insurance.

Additionally, many countries are seeing a second wave of the coronavirus right now, so it is important to be aware of health and safety measures and rules if you have to travel to one of those countries. The Local has sites in nine European countries – you can follow them here. If you are a member it is worth knowing that membership of one site gives you unlimited access to all our sites (but you may have to log in separately for each site).

September 9th:

Another four people who passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus were added to Sweden’s total death toll today, bringing it to 5,842. There have been 85,880 confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak and 2,576 corona patients have been admitted to intensive care over the course of the year.

Sweden today added Cyprus to its list of countries exempt from its advisory against non-essential travel, but extended it for the UK and several other countries in the European Union. Read the latest here.

September 8th:

Sweden’s total number of people who have passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus increased by one person today, bringing the total to 5,838. There have been 85,707 confirmed cases of the virus to date in Sweden. The number of corona patients admitted to intensive care remained unchanged today: 2,575.

Sweden’s testing rate has long been relatively low compared to many European countries, but it set a new personal best last week when 126,219 tests for ongoing coronavirus infection were carried out (the previous record, from the week before, was 85,060). Out of those, 1.2 percent tested positive, said Public Health Agency director-general Johan Carlson at today’s press conference.

Sweden ran an unexpected surplus in August, defying expectations by more than 45 billion kronor ($5 billion), despite the coronavirus pandemic hitting the country’s economy hard. You can read more about that here.

Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency has accused the Public Health Agency of dismissing its scenario for how the coronavirus would develop in a survey early this year, but the latter insists it’s not how its response was intended.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven vowed to rebuild a stronger and better Sweden in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as he addressed the opening of parliament today. Read the speech here.

September 7th:

Another two people have been confirmed dead in Sweden after testing positive for the coronavirus, which brings Sweden’s total death toll to 5,837. A total of 85,558 people have tested positive since the start of the outbreak and 2,575 coronavirus patients have been admitted to intensive care over the course of the epidemic.

This is not coronavirus-related, but if you hear a loud siren in Sweden today, don’t be alarmed. This article explains what the noise is all about.

It’s budget season in Sweden. The country’s centre-left government and its parliamentary allies have pledged to hand out billions of kronor to healthcare and elderly care, in a series of new investments to boost a welfare sector battered by the corona pandemic. Read more here.

September 4th:

There have been 84,985 confirmed cases of the coronavirus to date, according to today’s update. A total of 2,574 corona patients have been admitted to intensive care over the start of the outbreak, and the deaths of another three people were confirmed today, which means Sweden’s death toll currently stands at 5,835.

Sweden has updated its advice to the public on how you should act if someone you’ve been in close contact with, for example a family member, has tested positive for the coronavirus. According to the new (it is unclear exactly how “new” this is, but we’ll get to that) guidelines, if you have been in contact with someone who has the coornavirus you should avoid close contact with others for a full 14 days and work from home if possible.

This advice is stricter than earlier Public Health Agency recommendations for the general public, and was published on the agency’s website this morning. But it is not clear when the advice itself actually changed. Our reporter Catherine Edwards has been investigating this since Tuesday, and you can read more about it here.

Norway has opened up to travel from six more Swedish regions, meaning that people travelling from these areas do not need to self-quarantine in Norway and that Norwegians may travel there for tourism. The affected regions are Värmland, Örebro, Gotland, Västernorrland, Jämtland and Västerbotten, with the travel warning set to be removed at midnight. Read more about what that means here.

And by the way, if you’re thinking of sneaking into Norway despite not being from one of the approved areas, don’t. Norwegian police said yesterday they had expelled a foreigner who violated quarantine rules and slapped him with a 1,900-euro fine, while immigration officials banned him reentering the country for two years. The man had arrived from Germany after flying via the Netherlands. Read more on our sister site The Local Norway.

September 3rd:

Another 12 people have been confirmed dead after testing positive for the coronavirus, bringing Sweden’s total death toll to 5,832. There have been 84,729 confirmed cases of the virus to date, and the number of corona patients admitted to intensive care over the course of the outbreak is still the same as yesterday: 2,570.

More than 23,000 Swedish businesses applied for state funding after losing their revenue when the coronavirus pandemic hit. New figures now reveal how many have been granted the cash boost to date.

Sweden’s schools watchdog will look into how schools across the country are implementing infection prevention guidelines, after several reports of schools failing to follow the recommendations.

Sweden’s coronavirus strategy and focus on voluntary measures has been built on mutual trust between the population and authorities, but new polls suggest levels of trust in the government’s handling of the crisis is falling. But trust in health authorities remains steady.

Here’s some good news at last, fingers crossed. Stockholm, the epicentre of Sweden’s coronavirus outbreak, registered its lowest number of cases since early March last week. The situation varies between regions (you can find your own region here) but overall the number of new cases still seems to be slowly going down in Sweden.

The Nordic countries have all seen their economies pushed into record slumps this year, but they are still faring better than most of Europe. How did they do it? This feature by the AFP news agency takes a closer look.

September 2nd:

Seven new deaths have been confirmed in Sweden, which means that the total number of people who passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus now stands at 5,820. There have been 84,532 confirmed infections so far (but the Public Health Agency warns that its data is still being adjusted after thousands of false positive tests were discovered last week). A total of 2,570 corona patients have been admitted to intensive care.

The international student experience is enriched by the chance to travel abroad and meet new people, but what happens when a pandemic makes those two things difficult or dangerous? Students who had arrived in Sweden for the autumn semester shared their thoughts with The Local.

Three children have been taken into social care after their parents kept them isolated at home for months out of fear of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new ruling by a Swedish court.

It is looking increasingly unlikely that högskoleprovet – an exam used by thousands of students every year as a way to enter Swedish university will go ahead – despite a government U-turn. Here’s what we know so far.

Property prices are back at their all-time high in Sweden despite the corona crisis, apart from apartments in Gothenburg and Stockholm. Here are the latest stats. Not corona-related, but you may enjoy this quiz:

September 1st:

Five new deaths have been added to Sweden’s total number of people who passed away after testing positive for the coronavirus, which brings that number to 5,813. There have been 84,521 confirmed cases of the virus so far and a total of 2,569 corona patients have been admitted to intensive care over the course of the pandemic.

Sweden’s coronavirus restrictions are expected to remain in place this autumn, but additional local or regional measures may be needed in case of cluster outbreaks, said Swedish authorities at a press conference today.

Some of the future measures could include additional restrictions for adults in the same household as someone with confirmed coronavirus infection. The Public Health Agency is investigating the possibility of ordering the healthy household member to for example self-quarantine in accordance with the law on infectious diseases.

Face masks may also play a part in fighting local or regional outbreaks, states the Public Health Agency’s new report. Unlike many other countries, Sweden has not yet introduced face masks as a general measure for fighting the coronavirus. The report suggests that public transport could be an environment where face masks may be beneficial in case of local outbreaks, but adds that any such measures should be discussed with regional actors.

You can read more (in English) about the new plan to fight future outbreaks of coronavirus here. You can also read a more in-depth guide to what it actually means here.

While reading the report, The Local noticed an apparent inconsistency. The report states that people who live with someone who tests positive for Covid-19 should avoid all close contacts for 14 days — a guideline which is also outlined in the agency’s guidance for contact tracing, published in late July.

But in its Q&A for the public, the agency stated that for people living with a confirmed or suspected Covid-19 patient: “So long as siblings and other family members don’t have symptoms they can act as normal and go to school, preschool or work. In families or households where someone is sick it is important to pay attention to symptoms.” The Local contacted the Public Health Agency for clarification, and this section of the page has since been removed. We will add an update to this blog when we receive a response.

In a set of new guidelines, Swedish health authorities recommend children to get tested if they show symptoms of coronavirus infection, so that they can return to school if they are otherwise well. Read more here.

Our two journalists (hi from Emma and Catherine!) have been running The Local’s paywall-free blog since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in Sweden more than six months ago, posting new updates every weekday and sometimes weekends. It has been a roller coaster year. We have never before kept a live blog running for this long and the article has simply grown too large for our content management system to handle. We’ll keep the blog running at the request of our members, but we’ll have to start afresh in this article. You can catch up with the old blog and how the pandemic developed between January and August by clicking here or the link below. And if you’re not yet a member, please help support our journalism.

CONTINUE READING: The Local’s paywall-free blog about the coronavirus outbreak in Sweden from January-August

EXPLAINED: Why is Sweden waiting to restart AstraZeneca vaccinations?