About the COVID-19 virus: for older people, people with health conditions and health and social care staff, 24 June

Here you can read more about current measures in health and social care and health and social care staff. This is the fourth article in a series about the work of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs in response to the COVID-19 virus.

Ban on visits to care homes for older people extended

The Government has decided on an extension of the ban on visits to care homes for older people on account of the COVID-19 virus. The ban runs up to 31 August 2020. At the same time, the Government is commissioning the National Board of Health and Welfare to develop the support for assessing how exemptions can be made from the ban on visits.

Preventive sickness benefit for risk groups

The Government's ordinance means a right to compensation of up to SEK 804 per day for people who belong to risk groups and for family members of people who belong to risk groups. The benefits are paid for the period when the person refrains from work to avoid being infected by the COVID-19 disease or infecting family members with that disease. The ordinance entered into force on 1 July 2020.

Relaxation of restrictions in the summer

In recent weeks the number of people needing care in hospital has decreased, and several regions have been able to increase their tracing and testing. In view of this and of the phase Sweden is now in, the Government is able to give new information about conditions for travel in Sweden this summer. As of 13 June people without symptoms can travel in Sweden.

According to the Public Health Agency of Sweden, it is the social contacts, and not the trips themselves, that spread infection, so it is important that everyone continues to take great personal responsibility and to follow the advice about caution and social distancing. The situation is still serious and the other restrictions concerning, for example, crowding in restaurants, bars and cafés and recommendations for risk groups remain in place. If the curve of severely ill people turns upwards again, new restrictions may be introduced.

Consequences of COVID-19 for social services to be analysed

The Government has commissioned the Agency for Health and Care Services Analysis to analyse the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the services provided by the social services in individual and family care. The commission will both cast light on the consequences from a short-term perspective and include a prospective analysis looking one year ahead.

 

SEK 30 million to counter the consequences of isolation

Older people risk being hit particularly hard by the consequences of the outbreak of COVID-19. To counter the consequences of isolation, the Government is providing SEK 30 million in funding for the municipalities. This funding can, for example, be used for digital solutions in services for older people.

National Board of Health and Welfare to be commissioned to analyse cause of death statistics

The Government is commissioning the National Board of Health and Welfare to analyse how statistics concerning causes of death linked to the outbreak of COVID-19 are reported in Sweden and other countries. The commission also includes comparing and reporting corresponding statistics between regions, municipalities and other relevant geographical divisions in Sweden.

Government providing SEK 5.9 billion for expanded testing and tracing

The Government wants to see a strong increase in testing and tracing. The Public Health Agency of Sweden is therefore being commissioned to speedily ensure, in consultation with the regions and country administrative boards, that conditions are in place for large-scale testing for COVID-19 throughout the country.

At national level, the Public Health Authority of Sweden is to support regions, country administrative boards, municipalities and other actors by ensuring that all the necessary structures for testing and the consequences of testing are in place in the near future. At the initiative of the regions, the country administrative boards are to assist the work of the regions on ensuring a speedy expansion of testing capacity. The boards are to provide this assistance in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The Government and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions share the same overall view of testing and tracing. They have signed an agreement on the implementation of increased testing.

Municipalities to be given full responsibility for the supervision process

The Government is allocating a total of SEK 82 million to strengthen the process concerning supervision of infectious diseases control in restaurants, bars and cafés in order to reduce the risks of further community transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Under the proposal, the municipalities will be responsible for the whole supervision chain, from inspections to decisions. When required, the regional medical officer for infectious diseases control will still provide the municipalities with advice in terms of infectious diseases control.

Payments for digital care in national schedule

The Government has decided to make it possible temporarily for care providers under the national schedule of payments to be paid for digital health care contacts. The purpose is to reduce the number of non-essential physical visits to health care, thereby reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19. It is up to every region to make their own decision as to whether they want to make use of the possibility of digital health care contacts provided by the ordinance amendments. If they do, the region and care providers have to agree on the payment level for digital health care contacts.

Impact on cancer patients to be analysed

The National Board of Health and Welfare has been commissioned by the Government to analyse how cancer patients are affected by COVID-19. The Board will, for instance, analyse whether patient demography and the course of the disease are the same for cancer patients as for other groups. At the same time, the reporting dates for a number of the Board's ongoing government commissions are postponed on account of COVID-19.

Government's vaccine strategy

Ensuring access to any future vaccine for COVID-19 has high priority for the Government. The Government has therefore produced a vaccine strategy consisting of three parts: the Government’s further international work, a new vaccine coordinator and a commission to the Public Health Agency of Sweden to produce a national vaccine plan. Richard Bergström is the new vaccine coordinator. His appointment runs until 2022, and he will already present an initial interim report in August.

Information material for children and young people particularly susceptible to infection

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has been commissioned to produce and spread information material for health care and school health services. It will deal with targeted action for children and young people who are particularly susceptible to infection. The purpose of the information material will be to serve as support for the profession in connection with assessment and advice about preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection for children and young people who are particularly susceptible to infection.

The National Board of Health and Welfare will assist the Agency with its knowledge, and experience and the Board will also spread the information material to professions in the relevant services.