Sweden Introduces New Covid-19 Rules: ‘The Situation Requires It’

By David Nikel, Contributor
Magdalena Andersson became the prime minister of Sweden in November 2021. TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

The Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson has announced a new series of coronavirus-related national measures as Sweden grapples with an increased burden on its healthcare system.

From January 14, all licensed premises must close by 11pm, with seated service only and a limit of 8 people in a group. There are also new restrictions on public gatherings and events, which will impact anyone hoping to travel to an event in Sweden in the coming weeks.

A burden on Swedish healthcare

In recent weeks, Sweden has recorded its highest levels of positive Covid-19 test results. The National Board of Health and Welfare said there is a “rapidly rising curve” for the spread of infection and the need for care.

At a government press conference, Andersson that the “situation requires” the new measures. She emphasized that the burden on healthcare is high and urged everyone to get vaccinated. At the time of writing, 82.2% of Sweden’s population over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated with two doses.

“I am well aware that these measures are intrusive in people's everyday lives. Therefore, I also want to emphasize that they are temporary, that both the government and the authorities will assess the need for the measures on an ongoing basis,” said Andersson.

New Covid rules in Sweden

The prime minister urged adults to limit social contacts indoors in the coming weeks. From January 12, the following new rules apply in Sweden:

  • Homeworking for all who can.
  • Licensed bars and restaurants must close at 11pm, limit groups to 8 people, and implement seated service only.
  • Public events are limited to 50 people. Above this number, a Covid-19 certificate is required for entry, fixed seats are required and groups of up to 8 people must be kept apart.

Other proposed measures such as a lower capacity limit on private events require amendments to regulations and will be introduced at a later date. Previous measures have been extended, including limiting long-distance public transit to essential travel only and the use of face masks when many people travel together.

Sweden travel restrictions

All travelers over the age of 12 must still present a negative Covid-19 test certificate when arriving in Sweden. This applies regardless of vaccination status. Antigen and PCR (NAAT) tests are accepted, as long as they are no more than 48 hours old when entering Sweden. Swedish citizens and residents are exempt.

In addition to this testing requirement, the ban on non-essential travel to Sweden from outside the EU/EEA remains in place until January 31, although there are several exemptions.


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