Sweden to scrap all mandatory coronavirus regulations next week

3 February 2022, 10:52 | Updated: 3 February 2022, 10:58

Busy high-street in Sweden
All mandatory coronavirus restrictions in Sweden have been scrapped (Picture: Alamy) . Picture: Alamy

By Liam Gould

Sweden is set to lift all coronavirus restrictions, after a relaxation of rules announced by the Swedish government on Thursday.

From February 9th all coronavirus measures will be lifted in the country. Under the current rules, outdoor gatherings have been limited to 500 people, and a curfew of 11:00 p.m on hospitality venues was imposed. These final measures will be scrapped across Sweden next week.

The announcement sees Sweden join other parts of Scandinavia, as well as the United Kingdom, in loosening coronavirus measures.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson held a press conference to announce the decision in Stockholm.

“It’s time to open up Sweden”, Ms. Andersson said. “The pandemic isn’t over but it is moving to a new phase”.

Read more: Omicron could pave way to normal life in just two months, says leading health expert

The easing comes despite high levels of infection in the country. But, the Swedish government no longer considers it’s health-care system under strain and moves to lift restrictions on the population.

"Looking ahead, infection rates will remain high for a while longer, but as far as we can judge, the worst consequences of the contagion are now behind us", said Ms. Andersson.

High vaccination rates and more data on the Omicron variant are cited as the reason for the change in restrictions. 73.9% of the population have been fully vaccinated.

The Swedish government will continue to urge people with Covid-19 symptoms to self-isolate and unvaccinated members of the public to avoid large gatherings. The number of Covid-19 related deaths in Sweden is currently 16,028, much higher than other Scandinavian countries.

Sweden has maintained a more relaxed approach compared to other European countries throughout the pandemic. The country was widely discussed over it’s reluctance to enter into a national lockdown early in the pandemic.

But, Sweden gradually imposed widespread mandatory restrictions by introducing vaccine certificates for certain venues and limiting the number of people at large gatherings.

The announcement comes after neighbours Denmark, Finland and Norway made the decision to scrap almost all coronavirus restrictions days ago.

Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said working from home would no longer be mandatory and restrictions in place on the hospitality industry would be axed.

“We don’t know if this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic”.

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