Wednesday 1/20/21
CORONAVIRUS

Swedish government seeks more powers in new bill to tackle pandemic

The bill could enter into force on January 10.
The Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven. Photo: Reuters/file photo.
The Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven. Photo: Reuters/file photo.

Sweden's government said on Monday that it has completed work on a draft bill that would temporarily enhance its powers to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposal has now been sent for review by a special legal panel, two cabinet members said.

"Under the Covid-19 bill, parliament would temporarily give the government more powers than it has currently to decide on binding measures to tackle infection," said Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren.

The bill would give the government the right to order the closure of shopping malls, public transport, gyms and cultural venues, for example, or limit the number of those allowed to enter them.

People who violated caps on public gatherings could also be fined, Hallengren said.

The advisory Council on Legislation was set to review the draft before parliament is to vote on the bill in early January.

Hallengren told reporters she hoped the bill could enter into force on January 10.

Authorities invited to comment

Ibrahim Baylan, minister for business, industry and innovation, said the government also planned to present proposals for how business effected by closure orders could be compensated.

In all, about 100 different authorities and institutions, as well as the other parties in parliament, had been invited to comment on an initial draft.

The government said it had incorporated their suggestions.

The law was proposed to be in effect until the end of September.

The country of 10.3 million has seen about 396,000 infections and 8,279 deaths due to the virus.

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