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Published: 5 May 2020 , [Missing text '/pagetypes/nescardpage/atFull' for 'English'] 14:27

Swedes are sticking to social distancing

The latest survey by Kantar-Sifo, commissioned by MSB, shows that Swedes are sticking to the behavioural changes that potentially contribute to reducing the social spread of infection.

These surveys have been going on since 21 March. The present survey is the sixth, and is based on interview responses from 30 April – 3 May. The target group is the general public aged 18 to 79, and the selection was made randomly from Kantar-Sifo’s online panel.

This latest survey shows that Swedes are sticking to the behavioural changes that potentially contribute to reducing the social spread of infection – and in some areas people are even reporting an increase in changed behaviour.

Some of the behavioural changes which have most evidently increased over the past week include:

  • Almost nine in ten respondents (87 per cent) state that they are keeping a greater distance to other people in shops, restaurants and on public transport this week, compared with 72 per cent last week. There is also a slightly higher number stating that they avoid shaking hands, avoid public places with lots of people, and avoid kissing and hugging. The question about physical distancing in shops was first asked last week. 

In one area we see a change in the opposite direction, and this is in the share of respondents who say that they do less of their shopping in physical shops. That number is actually lower, but the change is small and within the margin of error. Note also that this is what people say about their own behaviour, so there is of course a risk that they have a positive bias in their own favour. 

Trust in elder care lower

Trust in institutions and government agencies has been generally stable over the measurement period. Health and medical care services and the Public Health Agency of Sweden enjoy a high level trust among the population. Around 80 per cent state that their trust in them is fairly or very high. But one activity is losing trust. Public trust in elder care has decreased in four weeks, from 34 per cent (9–15 April) to 22 per cent in the survey done 30 April – 3 May. This change is a clear deviation from the otherwise stable results of the trust surveys, but changed trust in elder care does not appear to have affected people’s trust in the municipality or region where they live. 

Continued concern about unemployment

The numbers here are the same as last week: there is a concern that unemployment will increase and that companies will face serious problems. Between 80 and 90 per cent of respondents agree fully or partly with these statements. In fourth place – with about 60 per cent – is concern that the health and medical care services will not have sufficient capacity. 

The survey also asks people to assess their own view of the future, and there too responses are stable – almost 70 per cent have a fairly optimistic or very optimistic view of the future. Six in ten feel that the measures undertaken in Sweden to limit the spread of the corona virus have been judicious. 


Published: 5 May 2020 , [Missing text '/pagetypes/nescardpage/atFull' for 'English'] 14:27

Latest reviewed: 5 May 2020

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