Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: As of April 8, Swedish authorities continue to enforce restrictions, albeit comparably more lenient, to stem the spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Sweden

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 17:46 GMT and is scheduled to expire 25 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
As of April 8, authorities in Sweden continue to enforce nationwide restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19, albeit more lenient than in many other countries. Stores remain open throughout the country, though shops and shopping centers are mandated to limit the number of customers and to apply social distancing measures.

At the same time, from March 19, Sweden - in line with other EU members - banned entry to the country for 30 days of all foreign individuals who are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. Exemptions are applied for individuals who have long-term residency status in Sweden or another EU country or have a temporary or permanent residence permit for Sweden or another EEA country or Switzerland. In addition, the ban does not apply to healthcare workers, frontier workers, diplomats, freight transporters, transiting passengers, and people who have urgent family matters. The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs also advises against all nonessential travel to all countries up to June 15.

In addition, Swedish authorities have banned all gatherings of more than 50 people. Employers are advised to encourage workers to work from home when this is possible. High schools and universities remain closed, while elementary schools and preschools, however, remain open. Further restrictions are likely in the following days or weeks as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increase.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the Swedish government are relatively more lenient than actions taken by other regional governments in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Postpone travel if affected by travel restrictions. Confirm flight status before checking out of accommodation and departing for the airport. Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
US Embassy Stockholm: rs.usembassy.gov

Sweden Government: www.government.se