SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL

Swedish crisis chief resigns over Canary Islands trip

The leader of Sweden's crisis preparedness agency has offered his resignation after being accused of breaking coronavirus recommendations with a trip to the Canary Islands.

Swedish crisis chief resigns over Canary Islands trip
Civil Contingencies Agency head Dan Eliasson has argued that the trip was necessary. Photo: Marianne Løvland/TT
The Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) said in a press release on Wednesday afternoon that its director, Dan Eliasson, had decided to step down following a meeting with Mikael Damberg, Sweden's interior minister. 
 
“Eliasson has discussed the possibility of continuing his work as general director. He sees it as difficult given the current  [public] response, and feels in addition that this response also makes it difficult for MSB to carry out its important mission,” the agency wrote. 
 
Damberg, the release added, “shares this judgement”. 
 
 
The leader of Sweden's centre-Right opposition Moderate Party, Ulf Kristersson, who had called for Eliasson to step down on Tuesday, said the decision was “necessary”. 
 
“The person leading Sweden's crisis preparedness operations cannot preach to others that they should abstain from more or less everything and then themselves travel overseas on holiday,” he said.
 
Annie Lööf, leader of the Centre Party, which supports the ruling Social Democrat coalition, said that it was “the only reasonable decision”. 
 
“The head of the agency responsible for national crisis preparedness must act as a good example and follow the current recommendation,” she said on Twitter. 
 

 
 
In an interview with the Expressen newspaper on Saturday, Eliasson defended his trip, saying he believed it had been necessary for him to meet his daughter over Christmas. 
 
“I have avoided an enormous number of journeys during this pandemic, but I felt that this one was necessary,” he said. “I have a daughter who is here and who works here, and I celebrated Christmas together with her and my family.” 
 
In the press release, Eliasson stopped short of admitting that he had done anything wrong. 
 
“The important this is not me as a person, the important thing is how we as a society handle the pandemic and that all of our focus is on this important task,” he said. 
 
“The reason for the decision I have taken is to make sure that MSB as an agency is able to have the best conditions to carry out its important mission.”
 
According to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, Eliasson had not informed Damberg of his planned trip.
 
According to the TT newswire, Eliasson has declined further interviews. 

Member comments

  1. Greetings from the UK. Because of close connections with people in a number of European countries, I subscribe to the Local for news and comment.

    I live in the UK and similar kind of trips, within the UK, go against all restriction advice and have led to a number of senior advisors resigning. There are no excuses for such selfish and unjustified travel and go against common sense. In all countries, people have been making sacrifices over the Christmas and New Year period. My wife and I abandoned our plans to see my family over the festive period. One son would have travelled 120km to be with us and we chose not to meet up with the reast of the family, just 25 km away. To travel from Sweden to the Canary Islands is preposterous! Even though I sympathise with his sentiments, his decision to resign is correct.
    Stay safe and well.

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

COVID-19

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. 

SHOW COMMENTS