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

A heart lights up an office building on Södermalm. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Sweden's king on the pandemic: 'We have failed'

Each year public broadcaster SVT releases the programme Året med kungafamiljen (The year with the royal family), and this year features Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf describing 2020 as “terrible” and the national coronavirus strategy as having “failed”.

“I think we have failed. We have a large number who have died and that is terrible,” the king says in the programme.

“The people of Sweden have suffered tremendously in difficult conditions. One thinks of all the family members who have happened to be unable to say goodbye to their deceased family members. I think it is a tough and traumatic experience not to be able to say a warm goodbye.”

Swedish vocabulary: to fail – misslyckas


The king pictured in Drottningholm Castle, where he and his wife have been carrying out their royal duties remotely for much of this year. Photo: Linda Broström Kungliga Hovstaterna

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Sweden updates travel advice

Sweden updated its travel advice on Wednesday, removing advice against travel to three EU countries (Ireland, Estonia and Latvia). This means there is no foreign ministry travel warning if travelling within the EU/EEA and UK, although Foreign Minister Ann Linde urged everyone in Sweden to carefully consider whether travel was necessary and, if it was, make sure they followed local guidelines and planned their return trip.

The ban on entry to Sweden from countries outside the bloc is still in place until January 31st. There are exceptions to the ban, including for EU/EEA citizens and people moving to live in Sweden, but visiting family or friends over Christmas is not one of the exception criteria. You can find more information on the exemptions here.

Swedish vocabulary: to travel – resa


Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

Stockholm and Skåne postpone all planned care

The two major Swedish regions of Stockholm and Skåne have both been forced to postpone non-emergency care as the healthcare sector works hard to cope with a surge in coronavirus cases.

“We will manage emergency care, we will manage Covid care. But this will happen at the expense of other healthcare,” Skåne's regional director Alf Jönsson told a press conference on Wednesday morning.

Swedish vocabulary: emergency care – akutvård


Photo: Amir Nabizadeh/TT

Stockholm's Karolinska Hospital criticised by healthcare watchdog over ICU prioritisation

Sweden's healthcare watchdog IVO has criticised Karolinska University Hospital for the way it prioritised intensive care admissions in spring.

The hospital stated in an internal document that patients with a biological age of over 80 should not be prioritised when it came to intensive care. 

The watchdog said there was a risk that biological risk (based on someone's medical condition) could be confused with chronological age (based on when they were born regardless of their health), potentially leading to people being denied intensive care when they could benefit from it.

In June, The Local spoke to one family that said their 81-year-old father was initially denied intensive care for the coronavirus at another Stockholm hospital, but who managed to have him transferred to intensive care at the Karolinska hospital — where he recovered.

IVO said it was serious that this document was valid for six weeks. The hospital responded saying the document was intended as 'support' for doctors in decision-making and not a directive, and that age intervals were removed from later versions.

Swedish vocabulary: to prioritise – prioritera


Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

2020 has been the warmest year ever in Sweden

Sweden's average temperature this year is the highest measured in the 160 years since records began, and even a sharp cold spell over Christmas would not be enough to break the trend.

The average temperature of almost 7.5C is 0.5C more than the previous highest, which was recorded in 2014.

“It is partly related to global warming. The other week, the WMO [World Meteorological Organization, editor's note] reported that 2020 will be one of the two warmest years on the global scale,” Erik Kjellström, professor of climatology at weather agency SMHI, told the TT newswire. “It was only May and July that were a little colder than usual.”

He added that there was “nothing positive” about the news, which is linked to climate change.

Swedish vocabulary: temperature – temperatur


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