Tuesday 3/2/21
PANDEMIC

Sweden extends alcohol sales restrictions to stem virus

The country of 10.3 million has recorded roughly 608,400 infections and 12,428 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden talks to reporters after a news conference on the daily update on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation, in Stockholm, Sweden May 6, 2020. Claudio Bresciani/TT News Agency/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN.
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell talks to reporters after a news conference. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/via Reuters/ file photo.

Sweden's government on Friday prolonged a ban on alcohol sales from 8 pm until the end of February as part of efforts to stem the coronavirus pandemic.

A new measure  - effective as as of Sunday - was to reduce the number of passengers on long-distance train and bus services.

Travel companies would not be allowed to sell more than half of the available seats on trips longer than 150 kilometres. Already booked tickets were exempt from the new rules.

Tomas Eneroth, infrastructure minister, said then the measures were expected to run from February 14 to May 31, and were to reduce travel and congestion during upcoming winter sport and Easter holidays.

Sweden has gradually tightened its measures. The government, which has been granted temporarily enhanced powers to tackle the pandemic, has for instance capped public gatherings at eight people.

As of March 1, restaurants and bars would be allowed to serve alcohol until 10 pm. The move would be in place until April 11, but could be lifted earlier if infection rates decline.

New strains

The government also cautioned that restrictions on alcohol sales could be extended if the infection rate worsens or does not improve.

Concerns have been linked to new strains of the coronavirus that are significantly more transmissible.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Agency reported that the country of 10.3 million has recorded roughly 608,400 infections and 12,428 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began. 

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