Sweden confirms first death of coronavirus patient

An elderly patient has died after contracting the coronavirus, Stockholm health authorities confirmed on Wednesday.

Sweden confirms first death of coronavirus patient
The Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, south of Stockholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT
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The patient was being treated at the intensive care ward at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge when they were diagnosed with the coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it is also known.

Stockholm health officials said the patient had underlying health conditions.

“Our thoughts are with their loved ones. From international experience, we know COVID-19 has the most serious consequences for the elderly and especially elderly people with other underlying illnesses,” Stockholm infectious disease doctor Per Follin said in a statement.

More than 480 people had tested positive for the coronavirus in Sweden as of Wednesday afternoon, with the vast majority experiencing only mild symptoms and many so mild they have been able to remain at home. Most patients so far contracted the virus on ski holidays to northern Italy or from being in close contact with those patients, so the majority of confirmed cases have been relatively young and healthy.

One patient is currently being treated in intensive care in Stockholm.


Swedish health authorities on Tuesday upgraded the risk of the virus spreading in Sweden to “very high“, following the first apparent case of community infection that could not be linked to international travel.

If you experience symptoms of the virus, however mild, you are urged to stay at home and limit social contact with other people to avoid spreading the virus. Sweden on Wednesday scrapped its karensdag, the first unpaid day of sick leave, in order to encourage people not to go to work if they are unwell.

The initial symptoms are not dissimilar to the common cold. They include a cough, headache, fatigue, fever, aching and difficulty breathing. If your symptoms are mild you would perhaps not normally give them a second thought, so health authorities are urging people to be observant of their symptoms.

There is a concern that people who only get very mild symptoms (the majority of all coronavirus cases) could in turn spread it to more vulnerable people, such as the elderly and people with underlying health conditions.

Sweden moved to ban public gatherings with more than 500 people on Wednesday, to avoid people travelling long distances across the country and potentially spreading the virus.

A large number of elderly care homes across the country have introduced a ban on visits in order to reduce the risk of the virus being spread among the more at-risk age groups.

You can read more in this paywall-free article on The Local, which we are updating daily.

Member comments

  1. I have a fever and other symptoms, I tried calling both Sweden’s covid-19 info numbers. The first one had a wait of 250 people and the second wasn’t working and said to try back later. What is going on in Sweden?

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