Sweden plans stricter Covid measures ‘next week’ amid rise in infections

Sweden plans stricter Covid measures 'next week' amid rise in infections
Swedish Health Minister Lena Hallengren, left, and the Public Health Agency's director-general Karin Tegmark Wisell. Photo: Duygu Getiren/TT
Sweden is considering rolling out new guidelines and restrictions amid a renewed rise in Covid-19 infections, health chiefs told a press conference on Thursday.

Health Minister Lena Hallengren told reporters that the government “could relatively soon be forced to introduce new restrictions” due to an increase in Covid-19 infections in Sweden and elsewhere, with some regions reporting renewed pressure on their healthcare services.

“We’re facing an uncertain winter,” she said.

The Public Health Agency’s director-general Karin Tegmark Wisell said that the agency may roll out new guidelines as early as “next week” to curb the outbreak.

Initially, all adults may be urged to keep a distance in public and avoid crowded places, to choose other means of transport than public transport if possible, and to use face masks if crowding can’t be avoided on public transport.

Employers may also be told to arrange online rather than in-person meetings, and to make it possible for staff to keep a distance and to “a certain extent” work from home.

Tegmark Wisell said that additional measures could be introduced at a later stage if the outbreak continues to worsen.

As of December 1st, a valid Covid-19 vaccine pass is required in Sweden at indoor public events and public gatherings of over 100 people that don’t have any other infection control measures in place, such as social distancing or a limit on the maximum number of people allowed per group.

The government is preparing legislation to extend vaccine pass rules to other venues such as restaurants if it is considered necessary.

Sweden’s 14-day incidence rate last week stood at 184 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people, up from 125 the previous week, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The country has recorded more than 1.2 million cases since the start of the pandemic.

Four cases of the new Omicron variant have so far been confirmed in Sweden, but Delta is still the dominant variant. Omicron has been labelled a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation and it may be more contagious, but a lot of questions remain unanswered.

Sweden on November 30th stepped up its Covid-19 testing recommendations for international travellers, urging all arrivals from non-Nordic countries to get a Covid-19 test as soon as possible after arriving in Sweden, preferably on the first day if possible. People who have been to certain countries in southern Africa are additionally urged to self-isolate and get a second test on the fifth day after arriving.


Member comments

  1. I called to book a booster shot and they told me I was too young , that only 65 and older can get them . The rest of the World has rolled out the Booster shot for anyone above 18 years of age , so why is Sweden so far behind again , and playing with fire ? I told the Nurse that Dr Faucci said everyone should get the Booster , that the two shots of vaccine gave only 40 percent protection against this new variant , but all the Nurse could say is we know , but that is how it is in Sweden , that I should call back when I turn sixty . Absolutely outrageous behaviour by the Swedish Government .

    1. Sweden is also rolling out booster shots for the entire population, and as the 65 year and older are much more in danger of severe Covid19 cases than the younger, it is logical to prioritize them first. Also, they were the first to get their first two doses, and so their protection from the first two doses will likely diminish first.

      Also, check this link: https://www.thelocal.se/20211112/covid-booster-shots-in-sweden-who-can-get-them-and-how-to-book/ because Sweden is planning to get you your booster shot too.

      Finally, you will be aware that the individual nurses that we call up will have no authority to make any decisions. They are following a framework of regulations set up by the public health agency, or the regional health boards. There is no point of wasting your or their time/energy on the phone for something that will get both of you nowhere.

      1. People over 65 were the first to get their two doses in Sweden, but not all people who live in Sweden were vaccinated here.

        I got the second of my two doses over 9 months ago while staying in the USA. I would love to get a booster, and it would make sense to give me a booster from a public health perspective since my vaccination is almost certainly not as effective as it used to be. Sadly it seems like I won’t be able to get one for quite a while since the only thing that matters is how old you are, not when you were vaccinated.

      2. The logic of vaccinating first the >65 is sound due to their fragility. However, in general, Sweden vaccination rate is simply quite slow at least with respect to their neighbors. Considering that no other measure is being adopted this is really playing with fire, or, if one wants to be a conspiracy theorist, perfectly in line with the idea of spreading the infection curve, which was the never told too loud idea of mr. Tegnell.

      3. BTW, thanks for the link you sent, in that one can read:
        “The second round of booster shots will be given once 80 percent of those aged 65-79 have received their first dose. This will be measured on a regional level, meaning that the start date of the second round of booster shots will be slightly different in different regions, as regions each individually reach this milestone”.
        Do you know if there is a way to know which percentage of the 65-79 has been reached so far? I object a bit on this figure of merit, in that if for any reason this batch of people are slow at vaccinating all the others will have to wait. It should be 65-79 reaching 80% or 3 months time, whichever come first, something like that.

    2. I did want to add that I really admire your eagerness to get the booster shot. I really hope many people (all around the world) share this eagerness because I do believe that the only way we can keep us and everyone else safe is to have higher vaccination rates all around the globe.

  2. General Question:
    to get info about Covid19 and about vaccination rollout I usually turn to the Folkhälsomyndigheten page. I must say it is not an easy reading, especially for people not used to move through statistics and numbers, which does not help to spread fair information. Anyway, that is the official reference for C19 matters and I take it. The question then: is there a way to have a graph showing the rollout in time of the 1st, 2nd and, above all, 3rd dose? even better if in age groups but this, I reckon, is asking too much. MVH.

  3. When you change the rules about who needs to get a covid test from ‘people with symptoms who are doubly vaxxed do not need to’ to ‘get tested even if you are doubly vaxxed if you have symptoms’ you will, of course, see case numbers rise. But as long as the proportion of the positive cases to the overall tests stays the same, there is no need to get any more worried than you were before the rules changed. (Well, if you were one of the people who thought that double vaccination prevented infection, and have just discovered that it doesn’t, you can be worried about that if you like.)

    1. I should have said ‘always prevented infection’ there. There is evidence that it still does, sometimes. It’s just not the miracle-get-out-of-jail-free card that many of us hoped it would be.

  4. If Sweden is seriously considering enforcing a vaccine pass system for restaurants and cafes before it sorts out its woeful bureaucracy that has seen millions of vaccinated Swedes and a large swathe of international visitors prevented from being able to access the system, then it can no longer claim to be the home of rational common sense during the pandemic.

    Such a move, without at least allowing a negative test result as an in-lieu option, would actually make Sweden one of the most draconian nations when it comes to Covid rules, rather than one of the most lenient.

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