Sweden has gone ahead with plans to lift the majority of its Covid-19 restrictions, the Swedish Health Ministry confirmed to CNN on Wednesday.
The coronavirus pandemic in Sweden has entered a “new phase,” the health ministry said in a statement Wednesday. “The most important recommendation in the future is that everyone who is 12 years and older be vaccinated against Covid-19.”
Last week, the government announced its intention to lift most restrictions, including an 11 p.m. curfew on bars and restaurants and limits on the size of parties and distance between parties in hospitality settings starting today.
Vaccination certificates are now no longer needed to attend certain public events, attendance limits on public events have been lifted and square meter restrictions applying to trade fairs, shops and cultural and leisure settings have been removed.
Swedish people are no longer advised to keep their number of social contacts low, and workplaces and universities which have been carrying out remote learning are being advised to return gradually.
Certain limited health measures will remain in place, including guidance for all Swedes over 12 years to get vaccinated, to stay at home and avoid close contact with others if they show symptoms that may be Covid-19, and for unvaccinated adults to show caution in crowded indoor public spaces, the health ministry said.
The relaxation of measures comes after fellow Scandinavian countries Norway and Denmark also announced the lifting of most Covid-19 restrictions earlier this month.
Sweden initially eschewed lockdowns, prompting criticism of the government and health agency, but then imposed restrictions on public life in the face of high coronavirus case numbers.
The Swedish government and Public Health Agency of Sweden last week said they deemed the Covid-19 situation “stable enough” to commence the ease of restrictions, justified by the fact that Omicron has not caused “as serious a disease as previous variants” and the country’s intensive care units and general hospital care have not been severely impacted.
On April 1, all remaining restrictions in Sweden will be removed or “adapted to the prevailing spread of infection,” the government has said. The Covid-19 vaccination recommendation will remain, however, alongside “special recommendations for health and medical care and care environments.”
CNN’s Henrik Pettersson and Niamh Kennedy contributed to this post.