Sweden Adopts Tighter COVID Measures as Cases Soar

Sweden Adopts Tighter COVID Measures as Cases Soar

Sweden is switching to a stricter measure to regulate coronavirus restrictions, having relied on a more relaxed approach prior, bringing its approach more at par with the rest of Europe.

This after Swedish politicians on Friday approved a bill granting the executive department the power to impose tighter measures such as closing shops and public transport, as well as limit gatherings in public places such as parks, gyms, sports facilities, as well as events and businesses that operate premises for parties, when deemed necessary, The Independent reported.

The law will come into effect on Sunday, January 10.

Those found breaching social distancing guidelines will face a penalty, the report said.

In a television interview after the approval, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said that the law, originally for implementation in March when virus cases were expected to spike, will be imposed imminently.

“We see a great risk that we will be in a difficult situation for some time ahead,” he said.

“Of course, that means the pandemic law should be utilized, and we will use it in the near term,” he added.

Health Minister Lena Hallengren was quoted as saying: “This is first and foremost about measures to hinder the spread of the virus, but without imposing unnecessary limits on things that can be done without risking infection.”

As of press time, Sweden reported 490,000 confirmed virus cases while the death toll was at 9,433.

Meanwhile, opposition politicians criticized the government for its “slow” move to introduce the legislation, which broadens its ability to cope with the second wave of cases.

The country had until recently followed a largely voluntary approach to virus precautions such as social distancing, school closures, and the mandatory wearing of masks.

Bloomberg quoted Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell as saying that the country sees no sign of decreasing virus cases, adding “we have a lot of patients being admitted to intensive care units.”

“Unfortunately, the same goes for fatalities,” he said.

Photo from Helena Jankovicova Kovacova/Pixabay

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