Sweden boosts Covid restrictions amid 'very serious' infections rise

Lockdown-free Sweden ramps up coronavirus restrictions in its three biggest cities after seeing infections double in two weeks

  • Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo will face stricter coronavirus restrictions
  • Sweden registered its highest death rate since the summer with 31 yesterday
  • It registered 10,177 new coronavirus cases since its previous update on Friday 

Sweden has announced stricter recommendations for its three biggest cities after the lockdown-free country saw its coronavirus infections double in two weeks.

Four Swedish regions, including those encompassing the cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo, have been included in the restrictions.

The new guidelines include staying away from non-essential shops and avoiding public transport, gyms and museums. 

Speaking at a press conference today, Prime Minister Stefan Loven said: ‘We have a very serious situation.

Sweden has announced stricter recommendations for its three biggest cities after the lockdown-free country saw it coronavirus infections double in two weeks.. Speaking at a press conference today, Prime Minister Stefan Loven said: ‘We have a very serious situation’

‘More and more intensive care beds are now being used to treat COVID patients. The respite we got this summer is over.’ 

He also said parties at restaurants would be limited to eight people. People have been asked to avoid physical contact.

The new guidelines will remain in place the 17 or 19 November at the earliest, depending on the region.

Existing recommendations, including working from home if possible and staying in if symptomatic, remain in place.

Existing recommendations, including working from home if possible and staying in if symptomatic, remain in place. Pictured: People walk next to colourful autumnal trees at Djurgarden in Stockholm on October 31

Sweden has seen a surge in new infections in recent weeks, surpassing peaks set in the spring, though levels are not as high as in countries like Belgium, Spain and France relative to the size of the population.

It registered 10,177 new coronavirus cases since its previous update on Friday, Health Agency statistics showed.

Cases in the Nordic country, which does not publish updated Covid-19 data over the weekend and Mondays, have risen sharply in recent weeks, repeatedly hitting daily records last week.

It has registered 31 new deaths – its highest death rate since the summer – taking the total to 5,969 during the pandemic. 

The new guidelines include staying away from non-essential shops and avoiding public transport, gyms and museums

Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said the transmission of an infectious disease could not be been fully halted by herd immunity without a vaccine

Sweden’s death rate per capita is also several times higher than Nordic neighbours but lower than some larger European countries, such as Spain and Britain.

It comes after the country’s state epidemiologist has warned that chasing herd immunity is both ‘futile and immoral’ in the fight against coronavirus.

Anders Tegnell, the architect of Sweden’s liberal approach to the outbreak, said the transmission of an infectious disease could not be fully halted by herd immunity without a vaccine.

The scientist went on to describe how the European nation, which last week took its first step towards regional after seeing a rise in cases over the summer, was now at a ‘critical juncture’ after the number of daily cases rose by 70 per cent in a week. 

Mr Tegnell told the German newspaper Die Zeit: ‘There has up to now been no infectious disease whose transmission was fully halted by herd immunity without a vaccine.’ 

Despite a rise in the number of cases over the summer, Dr Tegnell said the curve was rising ‘less steeply’ and had not resulted in more people needing to be admitted to hospitals.

Dr Tegnell continued: ‘We do have more new infections than we did in the summer and we’re taking it very seriously. 

‘But the curve is rising less steeply than elsewhere. So far the increase has not resulted in more people needing to be admitted to hospitals. All in all, we’re  fairly satisfied.’

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