Sweden scrapped almost all of its few pandemic restrictions on Wednesday and stopped most testing for Covid-19, even as the pressure on the healthcare systems remained high and some scientists begged for more patience in fighting the disease, Reuters reports.
Sweden’s government, which throughout the pandemic has opted against lockdowns in favour of a voluntary approach, announced last week it would scrap the remaining restrictions – effectively declaring the pandemic over – as vaccines and the Omicron variant have cushioned the number of severe cases and deaths.
“As we know this pandemic, I would say it’s over,” minister of health Lena Hallengren told Dagens Nyheter. “It’s not over, but as we know it in terms of quick changes and restrictions it is,” she said, adding that Covid would no longer be classified as a danger to society.
As of Wednesday, bars and restaurants will be allowed to stay open after 11pm again, and with no limits on the number of guests. Attendance limits for larger indoor venues were also lifted, as was the use of vaccine passes.