KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Sweden in August 2021?

The Local Sweden
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KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Sweden in August 2021?
Children are set to return to school in August. Photo: Emma-Sofia Olsson/SvD/TT

Between schools starting in Sweden and Covid-19 vaccinations opening up to more people – here are a few things to make sure you have on your radar in August.


Sweden changes to new fuel grade

E10 was introduced as the standard petrol at Swedish fuel stations on August 1st. It is made up of 90 percent regular unleaded petrol and 10 percent ethanol, a higher ethanol mix than the current standard unleaded E5 (often known as "95" in Sweden), and is meant to help cut carbon dioxide emissions. Nearly all – 94 percent – of petrol cars can use E10 (here's a full list by industry organisation Bil Sweden).

Covid-19 vaccinations rolled out to over-16s

Several Swedish regions plan to open Covid-19 vaccine bookings to over-16s in August, after the Public Health Agency recommended that people aged 16 to 17 get the vaccine. Children aged over 12 who are in risk groups are also able to get the vaccine via their doctor.

There are 21 regions in Sweden and they're individually responsible for their own vaccine organisation, so some regions have already opened bookings to over-16s, some plan to do it in September, and some had not announced anything at the time of writing.

Here's The Local's list (in English) of how to book the vaccine in each of Sweden's regions.


Start of the Swedish school year

The 2021/2022 school year will get under way in August, although the exact date varies depending on where in Sweden you live.

In-person teaching is the default rule for schools this year, but it will still be possible for schools to close and move to online teaching in some circumstances. This includes if teachers and or students cannot be present because they are following the Public Health Agency's advice (for example staying at home if they have symptoms), or if requested by an infectious disease doctor to curb a local outbreak of Covid-19.

It will no longer be possible for schools to switch to online teaching only for the purpose to limit crowding on public transport or on the school's premises. This was previously an option during the pandemic to schools for over-13s.

Entry ban expires – or not

Sweden's entry ban for non-EU/EEA travellers is currently in place until August 31st. This has been in place since March last year and has been amended and extended several times, so August 31st should not be interpreted as the date when all restrictions will be lifted.

There are several exemptions to the ban, including but not limited to people who live in Sweden, people travelling from a certain number of low-infection countries (decided at the EU level) and people travelling for urgent reasons. In many cases you will also be required to show a negative Covid-19 test, no older than 48 hours. Read more about the current rules for travelling to Sweden here (in English).

Testing guidelines for returning travellers

Many of new Covid cases being discovered in Sweden have been linked to foreign travel, so the Public Health Agency in July advised most returning travellers to get tested on arrival in Sweden, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms. These guidelines are at the time of writing in place until August 31st, but these too could get extended beyond that date, or amended before the end of the month.


Sweden to dredge Lake Mälaren ports

Dredging work of the ports and passages into the towns of Västerås and Köping, which are connected to Lake Mälaren in central Sweden, was to get under way on August 1st. The Swedish Maritime Administration wants to make it easier for large ships to reach the two ports, in line with the government's climate targets to move more freight transport from land to water.

The project is estimated to finish in 2024 and will cost around 175 million kronor (approximately $20.2 million).

What about the easing of Covid-19 restrictions?

Sweden's five-step plan to lifting Covid-19 restrictions got under way on June 1st, and no further changes are planned for August. The next step, tentatively scheduled for September, will – if it goes ahead – see the removal of the limit on the number of people allowed at public events and public gatherings, as well as the remaining anti-crowding rules for restaurants and bars, including their indoor areas.

But whether this goes ahead in September will depend on the spread of Covid-19, which has seen a slight increase in recent days. A total of 1,855 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Sweden in the week of July 12th, an increase of around 24 percent on the previous week.


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