Sweden to lift most Covid restrictions next week
Sweden has become the latest European nation to announce it is lifting coronavirus restrictions.
At a press conference yesterday (3 February), prime minister Magdalena Andersson, minister of social affairs Lena Hallengren and the director general of the Swedish Public Health Agency, Karin Tegmark Wisell, confirmed the government will remove most measures on 9 February.
Capacity limits and vaccine certificates for live events will be discontinued, while the government also intends to lift entry restrictions for the Nordic countries.
Live events in the country have been subject to a capacity limit of 500 people (or 500 per section if the organiser divides the room so that people from different sections do not come into contact with each other). The semi-finals of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen to determine the country’s entrant for the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest are proceeding with capacity restrictions at Stockholm’s Avicii Arena this weekend.
“The pandemic isn’t over, but it is moving into a new phase”
“It’s time to open up Sweden,” said Andersson. “The pandemic isn’t over, but it is moving into a new phase.”
The Swedish public health agency will also follow Denmark’s lead in submitting a request that Covid-19 should no longer be classified as a socially dangerous disease. On 1 February, Denmark became the first country in the EU to announce it was ending all coronavirus measures.
PM Mette Frederiksen assured Danish residents they will be able to look forward to “concerts and festivals again” this summer due to Denmark’s 81% vaccination rate and Omicron appearing to be milder than previous Covid variants.
Elsewhere in Scandinavia, Norway has lifted most restrictions but maintains 1m social distancing, hampering the live music sector’s efforts to return to normality.
Earlier this week, the Finnish government announced plans to relax its Covid-19 curbs from 14 February.
According to the cabinet, the number of Covid-19 infections nationwide remains high, but the number of cases requiring intensive care has “decreased considerably”.
Meanwhile, England’s Plan B measures, which included a mandate for facemasks and vaccine passports (or a negative LFT) at gigs, were dropped in January and other UK markets have been rolling back restrictions.
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