For the Minister of Health in Sweden, the pandemic as we know it is over. So the country removes almost all restrictions and also stops almost all tests. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has similar intentions: he wants to become the first country to “live with Covid” on February 24.
Denmark was first last week. There, the mouth masks, the distance rules and the corona pass have been referred to as the trash. Even isolation is no longer necessary, although the government still advises staying at home for at least four days in case of symptoms.
Sweden went after its neighbour on Wednesday. Since the pandemic, the country has favoured advice over mandatory and ban and is now lifting most restrictions. Cafés and restaurants can remain open indefinitely, and halls can receive as many guests as they want again.
Not only are corona passes no longer needed, but you are also no longer tested in Sweden. Not even if you have symptoms. “We have reached the point where the cost is no longer justifiable,” says the boss of the Public Health Service. Only healthcare workers and the most vulnerable receive a free test if they have symptoms; others are simply advised to stay home if they think they have corona.
“I would say that the pandemic as we know it is over,” Health Minister Lena Hallengren told Dagens Nyheter. “The pandemic is not over yet, but in terms of restrictions and rapid changes, it is.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to go one step further than Sweden by lifting all restrictions and even mandatory self-isolation this month. He surprised friend and foe by suddenly announcing this on Wednesday. In the United Kingdom, most corona restrictions would expire on March 24, but Johnson wants to bring that forward by a month and immediately delete the isolation rules.
Critics say he made the statement to divert attention from Partygate – a new photo of a party during the lockdown seemed to embarrass him again. Johnson suddenly spoke in parliament about “encouraging trends”, but Scottish ministers immediately called on him to clarify what he meant before announcing such a thing.