Government AffairsFrom scrapping restrictions to reopening travel to the rest of Europe, the Swedes are showing signs of moving on from the pandemic.

Covid-19 is over, at least for Sweden

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“As we know this pandemic, I would say it’s over,” said Sweden’s Minister of Health Lena Hallengren.
“As we know this pandemic, I would say it’s over,” said Sweden’s Minister of Health Lena Hallengren. Photo Credit: Gettyimages/f11photo

Sweden, which stands out for its liberal pandemic approach, has now opted to remove its few Covid-19 restrictions, effectively declaring an end to the pandemic.

“As we know this pandemic, I would say it’s over,” Lena Hallengren, minister of health for Sweden told national newspaper Dagens Nyheter. “It's not over, but as we know it in terms of quick changes and restrictions it is.”

Hallengren further added that at least for Sweden, the Covid-19 virus will not be classified as a threat to society.

The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs made the assessment that the situation is stable enough to begin phasing out infection control measures, citing the low virulency of the Omicron variant and adoption of vaccinations.

The restrictions will be scrapped in two phases starting from 9 February and 1 April. As of Wednesday, aside from eliminating social distancing rules across the country, the following was put into effect:

  • Public events and trade fairs: removal of participant limits and maximum group sizes
  • F&B establishments: operations are allowed to continue operations past 11pm with no limit to number of guests
  • Public transport: removal of requirement for face masks to be worn
  • Private events: removal of participant limits

On 1 April, any remaining government issued recommendations will be scrapped or adapted accordingly to the rate of transmission, burden on health care services and vaccination rates. Following this, Sweden will still maintain its advocacy for people over the age of 12 to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

The removal of nearly all Covid-19 restrictions comes as Sweden lifted restrictions on travel from the rest of the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Nordic countries from Wednesday.

There is a ban on non-essential travel to Sweden from countries outside the EU/EEA until 31 March 2022. A number of countries are exempt from the entry ban. Foreign nationals travelling to Sweden from these countries must be exempted from the travel ban and show evidence of a negative test of Covid-19, from within the past 72 hours.

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