For members


Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news on Monday

Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
News on the state of the economy is expected this week. Photo: Martina Holmberg/TT

Southern Sweden braces for Covid-19 Christmas peak

Skåne, the southernmost region of Sweden, may see the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital peak around the Christmas holidays, reports regional newspaper Sydsvenskan.

This is based on three scenarios hospital management developed a few months ago. The worst-case scenario, based on the situation in Stockholm in spring, would lead to 250 Covid-19 patients in hospital and another 30 in intensive care, explains the TT newswire.

“Unfortunately we can't say for certain that we've broken the curve. Our hope is that the tightened general guidelines for Skåne will lead to that, but we don't know,” Mats E Persson, head of the Skåne regional crisis management team, told Sydsvenskan.

A total of 151 Covid-19 patients are currently being treated in hospital in Skåne, and 19 in intensive care, according to the region's latest available data on Sunday.

Swedish vocabulary: intensive care – intensivvård


Swedish MPs call for thorough inquiry into Estonia ferry disaster

A group of members of the Swedish parliament has urged the government to give the green light to Estonian authorities to send divers down to the shipwrecked MS Estonia, after a five-part documentary series discovered an unknown hole in the ship's hull.

The ferry sank in Finish waters in the early hours of September 28th, 1994, while en route from Tallinn to Stockholm. Only 137 out of 989 passengers and crew survived.

Estonian government officials have said that they want to conduct a more thorough investigation of the shipwreck, but need Sweden and Finland to agree. A previous agreement between the three countries designated the site a marine grave and left it untouched, so Sweden would have to change its laws to allow it to go ahead.

Swedish vocabulary: shipwreck – skeppsvrak

The front section of MS Estonia being lifted from the sea in 1994. Photo: AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Jaako Avikainen

The season of Sweden's vomiting bug is about to begin

The norovirus (or vomiting bug) is infamous in Sweden, with symptoms typically coming on very quickly following infection and including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. Most cases usually occur between November and April, reaching a peak in February (sometimes referred to as vabruari in Sweden, because of the high numbers of parents who take time off to look after sick children, called vabba in Sweden).

But in spring the season ended almost two months ahead of schedule, after people to a greater degree than normal kept a distance to each other and washed their hands carefully, following the advice on how to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

For the same reason, this season of the norovirus is also expected to be mild. Sweden recommends good hand hygiene as the best defence, particularly using soap and water. Hand disinfectant alone is not sufficient but can be used as an extra precaution.

Swedish vocabulary: vomiting bug – kräksjuka

'Tis the season of the vomiting bug. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

'Reality is exactly that harsh and brutal'

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven gave a rare address to the nation on Sunday. There were no new announcements, but he focused a lot on personal responsibility, urging everyone to do their part to curb the spread of coronavirus “as we head into the winter darkness”.

“The things we do wrong now as a country, we will suffer for later. The things we do right, will give us joy later,” he said, adding that people should limit their close contacts to those in the same household, or if they live alone, to one or two people (and remember to keep a physical distance to each other).

“What we do now will affect what our Lucia celebrations will look like. What Christmas celebrations will look like. Who will still be there with us this Christmas. It may sound harsh. It may sound brutal. But reality is exactly that harsh and brutal.”

He also stressed “to you who feel that everything is dark” that there was still hope. “Healthcare and social care is working, despite everything. Houses and roads are being built, despite everything. Our children are receiving an education and desire to learn, despite everything. We should take the situation very seriously, but we should do so with restraint, firmness and courage.”

By Monday morning there was not yet an official English translation available of Löfven's speech, but we translated it after the broadcast, so you can read it here.

Swedish vocabulary: Christmas celebration – julfirande

Sweden's Central Bank set to present monetary outlook

The Swedish Central Bank is set to present its next monetary policy report on Thursday. It is expected to continue its asset purchases for another six months to stimulate the economy and its recovery during and after the pandemic.

But experts tell the TT news agency that they expect the bank will decide to hold Sweden's key interest rate, the repo, steady at zero percent. The bank has previously said as much, but has also said that it could be cut to secure the inflation target.

The bank took the landmark decision to slash the rate below zero in February 2015, hoping that the strategy would boost inflation to raise the price of everyday goods and services which had been stagnant in recent years, and therefore improve economic prospects. Almost five years later, it was raised from -0.25 to zero in December 2019, following almost two years of inflation being close to its target of two percent.

Swedish vocabulary: interest – ränta

Thank you for reading. If you have any thoughts or questions about life in Sweden, you are always welcome to email our editorial team at [email protected].

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.