Since the summer, the Public Health Agency has held biweekly press conferences to give an update on the coronavirus situation in Sweden on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, after holding daily briefings earlier in the year.
Over the Christmas holiday period, these press conferences will be re-organised slightly because both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve fall on Thursdays.
Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are not technically public holidays in Sweden, but they are almost always treated as such by employers. Instead of holding press briefings on these days, they will instead take place on Saturday, December 26th, which is a Swedish public holiday, and Saturday, January 2nd.
In the first week of January the briefings will return to their usual time slots on Tuesday, January 5th and Thursday, January 7th.
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In addition to the press briefings, the Public Health Agency also publishes its data on the latest number of cases, intensive care admissions and deaths linked to Covid-19 at 2pm Tuesdays-Fridays, but this will also be disrupted by the holiday period.
Instead, data will be published on Tuesdays-Fridays but not public holidays, meaning: December 22nd, 23rd, 29th, 30th, and January 5th, 7th and 8th). That means the longest stretch with no updates will be between December 23rd and 29th, a five-day gap over Christmas and the following weekend and Monday.
The Local asked the Public Health Agency's Karin Tegmark Wisell why this was necessary and if it was likely to cause problems as the coronavirus situation is fast-changing.
“There is a big need for all the people in all the organisations that work intensely with the pandemic to work with healthcare and not the reporting, and work with communicable disease protection and not work with reporting. We really want to stress that it is a period where people need to focus on maintaining their activities in keeping up all the work when it comes to trying to prohibit the expansion of the pandemic, and not on the reporting. We will have some reporting but it will not be as frequent or as intense,” she said.
In response to The Local's question about whether this would make it harder for authorities to introduce measures at the right time, she said: “The delay will not be that great. We are talking about a few days' difference so we don't think that will affect the strategy as such.”
In early November, The Local asked The Local asked Sara Byfors of the Swedish Public Health Agency if there were any plans to update national data of cases, deaths and intensive care admissions on Mondays or over the weekends.
At the time, she said: “No, not that I'm aware of and the reason that we don't have it is that the statistics are so incomplete on Mondays that it's difficult to make any judgments of the epidemic from that, so not at this time.”
When we asked if it would be possible to get more complete statistics on Monday, she said: “I think that's difficult right now.”