On 3 February, the Swedish Government announced that most national restrictions will be lifted on 9 February. Employers and higher education institutions are urged to plan for a gradual return to the workplace. Nevertheless, the Government's assignment to government agencies to limit presence in university premises to workers who need to be present in the premises to complete their tasks still applies until 14 February. How Umeå University will approach this will be notified in the middle of week 7–13 February.
The pandemic is not yet over, but we are steadily approaching another phase of it. Knowledge of the Omicron variant has increased and the disease seems noticeably milder compared to previous variants. Also, the rate of vaccination has been high in the last weeks. Additionally, the number of people who have recovered from infection has increase. Given those facts, the Public Health Agency of Sweden assesses that most of the current national restrictions can be lifted.
Guidelines clarifying how the University's gradual return will be carried out will be issued in consultation with the Department of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention at Region Västerbotten. After that, a proposal will be presented to the Crisis Management Team, the trade unions and the University Management Council to obtain agreement and support from the organisation. The final recommendations will be presented in the middle of next week (week 7–13 February) on the staff web Aurora and on umu.se/en/covid-19.
Summary of changes to national restrictions
From Wednesday 9 February, restrictions to the following areas will be lifted:
- Public events and gatherings
- Restaurants, cafés, pubs and similar
- Exhibitions and fairs
- Trade venues and places for cultural and recreational activities
- Private gatherings in rented premises
- Long-distance public transport
- Tournaments, competitions or other large activities indoors
- Large social gatherings
- Recommendations for testing against COVID-19
Employers are urged to plan for a gradual return to the workplace to prevent a rise in infection and high numbers of infections at the same time. The Swedish Government's assignment for government agencies to limit presence in university premises to workers who need to be present to complete their tasks is still valid until 14 February. The gradual return will hence be initiated on 15 February.
Everyone with symptoms that could be COVID-19 must still stay at home.
Additionally, the Government is planning to lift travel restrictions for incoming travellers from the Nordic countries.
Recommendations will remain regarding the following
- Everyone over the age of 12 should get vaccinated.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Unvaccinated individuals are recommended to avoid crowding and large gatherings.
- Testing and contact tracing in healthcare.