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

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 Friday
Commuters with and without masks in Malmö on Thursday evening, the day masks became recommended during rush hour (7-9am and 4-6pm). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Parliament to decide on new pandemic law today

Today Sweden's parliament will vote on a new pandemic law, which if adopted will come into effect on Sunday and give the government more power to take stronger, swifter actions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

This would include legal limits on the number of people allowed in for example shops and public parks, which could be closed as a last resort, going beyond the current recommendations which are not legally enforced.

A similar temporary law which was introduced last spring was never used.

Swedish vocabulary: parliament – riksdag

Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

725 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days

Sweden reported 725 cases of the coronavirus per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks, which is one of the highest rates in Europe and the Public Health Agency's Karin Tegmark Wisell said that the true figure may be higher due to lower rates of testing over the Christmas period.

Sweden has also reported 17 cases of the new coronavirus strain first detected in the UK and thought to be more infectious. Of these, 12 cases have a direct link to travel from the UK, but five cannot be linked to travel. 

And around 40,000 people in Sweden have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, with more comprehensive figures expected from the Public Health Agency later today. Read more about what the latest data tells us about the coronavirus situation here.

Swedish vocabulary: democracy – demokrati

Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT


Swedish secondary schools given green light for distance learning

On Thursday, the government gave the go-ahead for remote learning for secondary schools (usually for pupils aged 13-15 years) when the spring term starts in the next few days.

Schools for this age group will have the option to shift to distance learning if necessary in order to reduce the risk of crowding either at school or on local public transport.

Previously only upper secondary schools (usually for pupils aged 16-18 years) had this option, although individual schools for all age groups have had the possibility to teach online if needed due a shortage of staff, for example. And shortly before Christmas, the region of Stockholm asked its secondary schools to offer distance learning in response to sharply rising coronavirus numbers, while a few other regions called for an early end to the autumn/winter term.

“What we expect is for our secondary schools to use their judgment and ensure the schools can be kept open as much as possible but that we also keep down the spread of infection,” Education Minister Anna Ekström said.

Swedish vocabulary: secondary school – högstadieskola


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