The Covid-19 case notification rate had fallen from 616 the previous week, the Public Health Agency reported in Sweden's biweekly coronavirus briefing, and compares to just under 900 in the week before Christmas.
While the current rate of 479 cases per 100,000 residents would not see Sweden marked as a very high risk 'dark red zone' under the proposed EU-wide classification, it still shows a high level of spread of the virus.
In late October, before the second wave took hold in Sweden, this figure was below 150, roughly the same as the current case rate in Norway.
Sweden updates its coronavirus statistics Tuesdays to Fridays, and on January 26th reported a total death toll of 11,247, while there have been 556,289 confirmed cases of the virus since the start of the outbreak.
(article continues below)
See also on The Local:
Nationwide, the National Board of Health and Welfare reported that 275 people were receiving intensive care treatment for Covid-19, a reduction of 60 from last week, while 1,585 people were receiving treatment in other hospital departments, around 300 fewer than the previous week.
Despite reporting that the key figures were moving in the right direction, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell reiterated that the pandemic was far from over.
“When the virus is spreading widely in society, it only takes small changes in behaviour for [the infection curve] to go up again,” he warned.
Tegnell fielded questions about the new variants of Covid-19, and said it was “highly likely” that more cases of all the new variants would be found in Sweden. Of the variant reported in the UK, called the B117 strain, he said: “Maybe this will gradually become the dominant variant.”
In total, 95 cases of the virus mutation first reported in the UK have been discovered, of which 29 have no apparent link to overseas travel. In addition, three cases of the variant first discovered in South Africa have been reported, all with a link to travel.
Around one percent of cases are being sequenced for the new variants, Tegnell confirmed, saying that it would take several weeks to reach the goal of ten percent, and that the speed would be dependent on Sweden's administrative regions' ability to adapt their laboratory work.
Meanwhile, he said that Sweden's vaccination programme, the “most effective tool against the pandemic”, was working well despite smaller deliveries than expected in recent weeks.
In total 192,700 vaccinations have been registered as carried out in Sweden.
The Local asked the Public Health Agency for clarification about how the defined 'vaccinations', and a press spokesperson confirmed that it refers to “given doses”, rather than the number of people vaccinated. This means that both first and second doses are included in the 192,700, and from Thursday onwards the data will also state how many people had received two doses.
Tegnell said this number was also affected by delays in how regions report their data, set to be updated over the next week, and that the real number of people in Sweden to have received the vaccination was “significantly higher”.
Currently only the total figure for vaccines administered nationwide is available, but the Public Health Agency reports that from Thursday it will report vaccination data on a local and regional level, along with age group breakdowns.