COVID-19 may have arrived in Sweden in November: Public health agency

May 05, 2020

It’s likely that there were individual cases of the coronavirus in Sweden as early as November 2019, according to the Public Health Agency, but the country is not currently working to trace the earliest cases.

The news follows a report from France that a man was infected with the coronavirus on December 27th, several days before the first cases were reported in China. The patient was diagnosed with pneumonia but a sample taken at the time has now tested positive for the coronavirus. That man has fully recovered since his illness, but reportedly has no idea how he caught the virus.

Now state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has said there were likely infected individuals in Sweden at this time too.

“There wasn’t any spread [of infection] outside Wuhan until we saw it in Europe later. But I think that you could find individual cases among Wuhan travellers who were there in November to December last year. That doesn’t sound at all strange, but rather very natural,” said Tegnell.

Currently the first confirmed case of the virus in Sweden was a woman in Jönköping who tested positive on January 31st after a recent trip to China. She has since recovered from the illness.