Coronavirus (COVID-19): international policing responses - part 1 - during lockdown

This review (part 1) considers international policing approaches and responses to policing the lockdown, up to the 7 May 2020.


Main points

  • No real lockdown in place, only guidelines around social distancing and a ban on public gatherings with more than 50 participants
  • Although the Swedish police did not have a strong role in enforcing lockdown, they have had an important role identifying where large gatherings posed a risk
  • Anyone who organises an event that violates the ban may be fined or jailed for a maximum of six months
  • Social distancing is being encouraged through innovative and creative ways

Unlike the rest of Europe, Sweden has decided against enforcing a lockdown, with restaurants, bars, and clubs remaining open. Customers need to be kept at a safe distance from each other. Businesses which do not comply with the regulations can be ordered to close.

While non-essential travel is banned, people have no limit on how many times they can leave their homes. Restrictions include a ban on public events of more than 50 people, a ban on visits to elderly care homes, and recommendations to close schools for over-16s and universities. Employees have been asked to work from home if possible. The police can cancel or dissolve a public gathering or public event with more than 50 participants.[140] Anyone who organises an event that violates the ban may be fined or jailed for a maximum of six months.[141]

There have been reports of social distancing being encouraged in innovative and unusual ways, with the city of Lund dumping a tonne of chicken manure in its central park in a bid to deter residents from gathering there for traditional celebrations on 30 April.[142]

Sweden has imposed a ban on foreigners trying to enter the country, with the exception of certain categories of key workers and of foreigners who are residents or have Swedish citizenship - as of 17 April, 60 foreigners had been stopped at the border.[143]



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