Sweden to End All COVID-19 Restrictions

Sweden to End All COVID-19 Restrictions
Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson addresses a digital press conference in Stockholm on Feb. 3, 2022. (Marko Saavala/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)
Lorenz Duchamps
Sweden is set to end all COVID-19 restrictions on Feb. 9, the government has announced, joining several European countries that have recently scrapped many of their CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic rules.

“It is time to open up Sweden again,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said during a Feb. 3 press briefing. “While the pandemic is not over, it has entered an entirely new phase.

“The message today is therefore that restrictions are dropped from Feb. 9, and at the same time, we urge all employers who have staff working at home to plan for a gradual return to the workplace.”

Starting on Feb. 9, people will be allowed to dine at restaurants again with no limitations on how many of them can be inside or how much space there should be between them. The requirements for COVID-19 vaccine certificates and wearing face masks on public transportation also will be removed, as well as the recommendation to limit social contacts.

Andersson said the government is loosening its COVID-19 restrictions because of health officials having an improved understanding of the virus that causes the illness and a rise in the country’s vaccination rates.

“This allows us to open up society, not least to everyone vaccinated,” she said. “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.”

In other parts of Europe, the Danish government lifted many COVID-19 restrictions this week, with officials saying that COVID-19 is no longer considered a “socially critical disease.” Denmark is among the first countries in the EU to announce an end to most of its pandemic restrictions, favoring the notion that it’s time to start thinking about the virus as endemic rather than as a pandemic.

Just hours after Denmark lifted restrictions, Norway followed suit by lifting its ban on serving alcohol after 11 p.m. and removing the 10-person cap on private gatherings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.