Sweden Announces an End to Covid Restrictions, Joining Other European Countries

STOCKHOLM — Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden announced on Thursday that the government would lift most Covid restrictions next week, joining a growing list of European nations, including Denmark and Norway, who are scrapping pandemic protocols even as cases across the continent soar.

Starting on Feb. 9, there will be no limit on how many people can gather at restaurants, sports stadiums, and other events, said Lena Hallengren, the minister of health and social affairs. People will no longer be required to work from home. And travel restrictions on visitors from other Nordic countries will be relaxed.

“The pandemic is not over, but we are headed into a new phase,” Ms. Andersson said in a news conference on Thursday, pointing to new research that suggests that hospitals are under less strain from Covid patients, even as the highly transmissible Omicron variant is driving record cases in the country.

Special recommendations, like avoiding indoor events, will remain in place for people who are unvaccinated, Ms. Andersson said.

The news comes as Denmark and Norway announced that they are easing pandemic rules. Nightclubs in Denmark are reopening, and the government said it no longer considers Covid a “socially critical disease.” In Norway, testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers are being dropped. And Finland has said that it will lift all of its remaining restrictions this month.

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