The week in pictures: 10 of the most striking photos from Sweden

This week saw Sweden's government formally granted extra decision-making powers as members of the public continued to adjust to the new normal caused by the coronavirus which has had a devastating impact on many people's lives and jobs. Here are some of the week's most striking photos.

The week in pictures: 10 of the most striking photos from Sweden
An entrance to Uppsala University Hospital, specifically for patients with suspected Covid-19. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist / TT

Photo: Ali Lorestani / TT

Journalists still have the option to attend government press conferences in person, but measures have been taken to enforce distancing and reduce the potential spread of infection. The Public Health Agency has started allowing journalists to join its press conferences via video meeting platform Zoom.

Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT

The situation in Skåne has remained relatively stable, especially compared to Stockholm, despite being home to the country's third largest city. Things have still changed in the region, but this picture from last weekend shows a busy market square in Malmö.

Photo: Ali Lorestani / TT

Volunteers in the badly-hit Stockholm suburb of Tensta have been handing out food parcels and hand sanitiser and sharing information about the virus in multiple languages.

Photo: Pontus Lundahl / TT

Inside the coordination centre for patient transport at the newly built field hospital in Älvsjö just outside Stockholm. 

Photo: Stina Stjernkvist / TT

In Liljeholmen, southern Stockholm, local food producers meet customers but appear to keep distance as much as possible.

Photo: Emma-Sofia Olsson / SvD / TT

And in the north of the capital, the Mall of Scandinavia, the second largest shopping centre in the Nordics, has had a fraction of its usual visitors. That's despite no nationwide closure of shops and non-essential businesses.

Photo: Jonas Ekströmer / TT

Princess Sofia, pictured here with nurse Gustav Westöö, has undergone intensive healthcare training to be able to assist and relieve care workers at the Sophiahemmet hospital.

Photo: Ali Lorestani / TT

A lone woman on a street in Stockholm's Old Town, which would usually be bustling with locals and tourists alike. 

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The world has been badly shaken by the coronavirus, but spring is a reminder that life will go on, even if not quite the same as before. The arrival of five bear cubs at Stockholm open air museum Skansen, who made their first public outing this week, is one sign of that. See more of their antics here.

What should you be doing to help reduce the rate of infection?

In Sweden, the official advice requires everyone to:

  • Stay at home if you have any cold- or flu-like symptoms, even if they are mild and you would normally continue life as normal. Stay at home until you have been fully symptom-free for at least two days.
  • Practise good hygiene, by regularly and thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water, using hand sanitiser when that's not possible, and covering any coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
  • Keep distance from all other people when in public places. That includes shops, parks, museums, and on the street, for example. The World Health Organisation recommends keeping at least a 1.5-2 metre distance.
  • Avoid large gatherings, including parties, weddings, and other activities.
  • Work from home if you can. Employers have been asked to ensure this happens where possible.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel, both within and outside Sweden. That includes visits to family, planned holidays, and any other trips that can be avoided.
  • If you have to travel, avoid busy times such as rush hour if you can. This reduces the number of people on public transport and makes it easier for people to keep their distance.
  • If you are over 70 or belong to a high-risk group, you should stay at home and reduce all social contacts. Avoid going to the shops (get groceries delivered or try to find someone who can help you), but you can go outside if you keep distance from other people. Read more about the help available to those in risk groups here.
  • By following these precautions, we can all help to protect those who are most at risk and to reduce the rate of infection, which in turn reduces the burden on Sweden's healthcare sector.
  • Read more detail about the precautions we should all be taking in this paywall-free article. Advice in English is also available from Sweden's Public Health Agency and the World Health Organisation.

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Covid deaths in Sweden ‘set to rise in coming weeks’

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has warned that the number of weekly Covid deaths is set to rise, after the number of people testing positive for the virus rose for the sixth week running.

Covid deaths in Sweden 'set to rise in coming weeks'

According to the agency, an average of 27 people have died with or from the virus a week over the past three weeks. 

“According to our analyses, the number who died in week 27 (July 4th-July 11th), is more than died in week 26 and we expect this to continue to grow,” the agency wrote in a report issued on Thursday. 

In the week ending July 17th (week 28), 4,700 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, a 22 percent rise on the previous week. 

“We are seeing rising infection levels of Covid-19 which means that there will be more people admitted to hospital, and even more who die with Covid-19,”  said Anneli Carlander, a unit chief at the agency. “The levels we are seeing now are higher than they were last summer, but we haven’t reached the same level we saw last winter when omicron was spreading for the first time.” 

While 27 deaths a week with for from Covid-19 is a rise on the low levels seen this spring, it is well below the peak death rate Sweden saw in April 2020, when more than 100 people were dying a day. 

The number of Covid deaths recorded each week this summer. Source. Public Health Agency of Sweden
A graph of Covid deaths per day since the start of the pandemic shows that the current death rate, while alarming, remains low. Photo: Public Health Agency of Sweden

Carlander said that cases were rising among those in sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and also elderly people given support in their own homes, groups which are recommended to get tested for the virus if they display symptoms. The infection rate among those given support in their homes has risen 40 percent on last week. 

This week there were also 12 new patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 in Sweden’s hospitals.  

The increase has come due to the new BA.5 variant of omicron, which is better able to infect people who have been vaccinated or already fallen ill with Covid-19. Vaccination or a past infection does, however, give protection against serious illness and death.