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

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 Thursday
A taxi driver in northern Stockholm delivers coronavirus self-tests. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Fact check: What was Sweden's Covid-19 death rate in mid-November?

On November 18th, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told Dagens Nyheter: “It's not the case that we are suddenly going up from 20 deaths per day to 40, 50. That's not how it is at all.”

The Public Health Agency has long acknowledged that there is a delay in the figures it reports, with deaths often added to previous days over the following weeks. This is partly due to delays in how Sweden's regions report deaths, and partly due to cross-referencing with other national registers to ensure that the number is as accurate as possible.

While it was true that the deaths reported in mid-November usually covered previous days, the same trend has continued. This means the death toll was much higher than the impression given by Tegnell; in fact there were more than 40 deaths per day at the time he made the statement.

The agency's own data now shows that on November 18th, there were 49 deaths linked to the coronavirus, and the seven-day average at the time was 41.7 per day. The discrepancy is reported in Expressen after being highlighted by critics of the Swedish strategy on Twitter in recent days.

Swedish vocabulary: The Public Health Agency – Folkhälsomyndigheten

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Major problems with Swedish contact tracing

Many regions are having difficulty carrying out Covid-19 contact tracing, a survey by Sveriges Radio shows. A total of 18 of the 21 regions reported that infection tracing – identifying and contacting those who have had close contact with a Covid-19 patient – is sometimes delayed, while in some regions the delay is so significant that it is ineffective.

Several regions reported that it was not unusual for the start of tracing efforts to take a week, by which point anyone who had been infected by the known patient may already be showing symptoms. And in some regions, the people with confirmed infection are asked to contact people they've spent time with as the region's contact tracing teams lack the time.

“We have almost doubled staffing of the contact tracing unit in the last few weeks alone, and yet it is not really enough,” a Kalmar infection control doctor told the radio.

Swedish vocabulary: contact tracing – smittspårning

A Covid-19 testing site in Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden extends travel warning for Ireland, Estonia and Latvia

The Swedish foreign ministry has extended its advice against travel to the three countries until at least December 16th, meaning people resident in Sweden are advised against non-essential travel to those countries. The warning had previously been set to expire on December 2nd.

The foreign ministry's advisory is not a legally binding ban, but has other implications that residents in Sweden may want to take into account before deciding to travel, for example that your Swedish travel insurance may not be valid if you disregard the advice. There are of course other reasons to avoid non-essential travel, but the foreign ministry has lifted the advice against travel to other countries in the EU, EEA or Schengen area, as well as the UK. 

Swedish vocabulary: insurance – försäkring

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Here's how Swedes would vote if an election were held today

Sweden's governing Social Democrats have seen a statistically significant fall in support this year, according to a new major party sympathy survey.

The survey, published by Statistics Sweden, shows that if Swedes went to the polls today the centre-left Social Democrats would get 29.4 percent of the vote. That's down by 4.3 points from the last such survey in May, but still up on the last election when they received 28.3 percent, the party's worst result in over a century.

Read The Local's full report on the party sympathy survey here.

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].

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