Thursday 28.05.2020
New measures

High death toll forces Sweden to slightly change coronavirus approach

The Swedish government still refuses to impose severe restrictions, although 59 people have died in the past 24 hours. Schools, bars and restaurants remain open.

Director of Public Health Johan Carlson with Minister of Health Lena Hallengren. Image: video screenshot.
Director of Public Health Johan Carlson with Minister of Health Lena Hallengren. Image: video screenshot.

On Wednesday, Swedish Publich Health Authority reported that 59 more people died because of the coronavirus (koronavirus, in Finnish). This is the biggest one-day increase suffered by Swedes since the virus outbreak. The total number of deaths reported in the country is 239.

Additionally, 500 new infections have been found in Sweden, bringing the total number of diagnosed cases to more than 5,000.

So far, the Swedish government has refused to adopt tough measures, similar to those imposed in other European countries, to curb the epidemic. On the contrary, Sweden has been facing the global spread of the coronavirus with open schools and crowded streets.

But in view of the evident worsening of the situation, Lena Hallengren, Minister of Social Affairs and Health and Johan Carlson, Director General of the National Institute of Public Health, presented new guidelines and regulations to try to limit the damage caused by the Covid-19 virus.

The most important of these guidelines concerns the number of customers in shops and stores, public transport and the activities of the country's sports clubs.

Johan Carlson said, “Everyone should avoid participating in large social events, such as baptisms, weddings and big parties.”

Public transport use

Traveling by public transport has already decreased drastically. Nevertheless, the Public Health Authority wanted to give further instructions to those who run public transport.

“We also want you to review and limit the number of passengers per vehicle so that you simply do not get a crowd, that is inappropriate.", said Carlson, who added that this must be done according to each vehicle's characteristics and seats distribution.

Lena Hallengren said these new guidelines will clarify what public transport operators should do. “It has been clear for a long time that the operators should reduce the (social) distance. It would have been possible for the operators to act in a more forceful way, now it becomes even clearer.”

Instructions for employers

Employers also received their own instructions. They will have to ensure that employees have sufficient distance from each other, favor teleworking from home and prevent all  commuting that is not absolutely necessary.

However, schools, pubs, bars, restaurants remain open in Sweden.

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