About the COVID-19 virus: Extensions of national restrictions, 5 february
Sweden is still in an extraordinary situation. The spread of infection with the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 is still at a very high level and health care is still under strain.
The Government has therefore decided on further extensions of national restrictions announced on 21 January and 4 February.
Extended ban on the sale of alcohol after 20.00
The ban on the sale of alcohol at eating and drinking establishments after 20.00 is extended up until 14 February. On Friday the Government will open a consultation on the proposal that the ban should continue to 28 February. After that it proposes extending the ban on serving alcohol after 22.00.
Continued home working
The commission to government agencies to take further action to increase the share of their employees working from home is extended to 31 May 2021. Only employees whose physical presence is essential for the conduct of agency activities should be in the agency’s premises.
Adjusted recommendation to upper secondary schools
The recommendation of the Public Health Agency of Sweden concerning upper secondary schools is extended but adjusted. The adjustment means that instruction should be conducted as a combination of remote or distance instruction and some face-to-face instruction. This applies as of 25 January until and including 1 April 2021.
Extended recommendation on face masks in public transport
The Public Health Agency of Sweden has recommended face masks in public transport, as of 7 January 2021, at times when there is often crowding This will apply throughout the spring.
Continued closure of non-essential services
The Government is continuing to call on regions and municipalities to keep services that the public has access to and that are not essential closed until and including 21 February 2021. What non-essential services means is determined by each region and municipality on the basis of their own regional and local needs and circumstances. However, the Government considers that it remains important that sport, recreation and culture activities for children and young people, held both outdoors and indoors, continue to stay open. This now also applies to activities for young people attending upper secondary school.
In addition to this, the Government is preparing more measures under the Pandemic Act. This work will give great weight to the assessments made by the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The proposals will be referred for consultation in February.
Temporary Pandemic Act provides more powers for communicable disease control measures
On 8 January the Riksdag decided to adopt the new temporary Pandemic Act that is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection more effectively. Using the new Act the Government adopted a new ordinance – called the ”Restrictions Ordinance” – which introduces legally binding rules for gyms and sports centres, swimming baths, shops, shopping centres and places for private gatherings as of Sunday 10 January.
Negative COVID-19 test required to enter Sweden
The Government decided on 3 February that foreign nationals must present a negative COVID-19 test for ongoing infection when entering Sweden, irrespective of where they are travelling from. The purpose is to reduce the risk of the spread of infection with the new variants of the coronavirus that have been discovered in several countries.
SEK 175 million to the county administrative boards to increase supervision
To enable the temporary Pandemic Act to have the effects being sought, it is important to give the county administrative boards additional resources to enable them to conduct supervision work. On 26 January the Government therefore proposed an increase of SEK 174.6 million in the appropriations of the county administrative boards. It also proposed distributing a further SEK 82 million to the municipalities, regions and county administrative boards for work including supervision of crowding at eating and drinking establishments. The Government is also proposing extending the Act on temporary communicable disease control measures at eating and drinking establishments until 30 September 2021. This enables the Government to continue to regulate communicable disease control measures at eating and drinking establishments during the period when the Pandemic Act is in force.
SEK 100 million for swift transport due to COVID-19
Heath care is under heavy pressure due to the pandemic and access to hospital beds is under strain in many parts of the country. Patients may need to be moved between hospitals by air or road transport to relieve hospitals experiencing high pressure. For the municipalities this can involve swift transport between, for example, care homes for older people, or homes with special services for people with disabilities, and hospitals. On 27 January the Government proposed allocating SEK 100 million to enable regions and municipalities to continue to apply for payments for additional costs that arise for swift transport due to COVID-19.
SEK 1.4 billion for quick tests
Testing and tracing is under way on a large scale in Sweden, and it is important that society has access to a range of tools and methods to break infection chains and press down transmission of the infection. At the same time, it is important to maintain a correct picture of the state of the infection in the country. The advantage of quick tests is that they give a test result straightaway, sometimes after as little as 15 minutes. As part of continued action to meet the need for large-scale testing for COVID-19, the Government is proposing allocating SEK 1.4 billion in 2021 to the use of quick tests. The Government has previously allocated SEK 7.5 billion to large-scale PCR testing and tracing in 2021.
The Government wants to break older people’s isolation
Many older people are alone and isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here pensioner organisations fill an important function in supporting their members and in contributing to activities and breaking isolation. To strengthen their work, the Government is proposing increasing the government grant to these organisations by SEK 15 million in 2021.
Swedish Medical Products Agency receives an additional SEK 24.6 million
On account of COVID-19 the Swedish Medical Products Agency has intensified work to secure access to medical products and devices. It is important that this work is able to continue. The Government therefore announced on 26 January that it is reinforcing the Agency’s funding by an additional SEK 24.6 million in 2021.
State signs agreement on injuries resulting from vaccination against COVID-19, 14 January
People who have suffered injuries as a result of vaccination against COVID-19 will receive compensation from Swedish Pharmaceutical Insurance in the first place. However, this only applies to vaccines from pharmaceutical companies affiliated to Swedish Pharmaceutical Insurance. In the case of a vaccine or vaccines not included in Swedish Pharmaceutical Insurance, the Government intends to shortly present a legislative proposal to the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) that will be based on the same principles. The intention is for the protection to be at the same level as for vaccines included in the Pharmaceutical Insurance.
Extended compensation period for protective equipment for personal assistants
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased costs for personal protective equipment for personal assistants. On 12 January the Government therefore proposed extending the period for compensation applications by five months; it is allocating SEK 25 million to this measure. The proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.
Additional SEK 5.5 billion for testing for COVID-19 in 2021
Sweden needs to be able to continue to maintain large-scale testing and tracing of COVID-19 as important tools for combating the spread of infection in the country. On 12 January the Government therefore proposed allocating an additional SEK 5.5 billion to large-scale PCR testing and tracing for COVID-19 in 2021. This means that the Government has now allocated a total of SEK 7.5 billion this year, since SEK 2 billion had already been allocated. The proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.
Review of the National Board of Health and Welfare’s compilation of risk groups
On 28 January the National Board of Health and Welfare was given a commission to continuously review and update its previous compilation of identified groups running the greatest risk of developing a particularly serious disease if they get COVID-19. The commission will remain in place for as long as required in view of compensation to risk groups.
Corona-related measures in health insurance
To prevent more people losing their sickness benefit at Day 180, the Government decided on 4 February to temporarily stop the Day 180 examinations. After Day 180 the insured person will also have their work capacity examined in relation to work for their present employer instead of in relation to work normally found in the labour market. This will apply up until Day 365 of their sickness period. The ordinance entered into force on 8 February 2021.
The Government has also decided to extend the compensation to people in risk groups due to COVID-19 and to certain relatives of risk groups. At the same time, it is extending the benefit period for preventive parental benefit that can be paid to parents of certain children who have recently been seriously ill.