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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
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Health Minister Lena Hallengren announcing plans for coronavirus measures on Thursday. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Swedish PM to announce government reshuffle

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven will announce new ministers later today as part of a government reshuffle.

Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister and Environment Minister Isabella Lövin has left the government, and although her replacement as co-leader of the Green Party has already been announced (Märta Stenevi), Lövin's cabinet roles are currently empty. Many observers expect that the party's other co-leader, Per Bolund, would take up the Deputy PM role, in which case it isn't clear if he would stay on or be replaced in his current role as Financial Markets and Housing Minister.

Sweden's Minister for International Development Cooperation will also be replaced after minister Peter Eriksson stepped down before Christmas, and other changes are possible. We will have more on The Local after the press conference on Thursday morning, and you can follow the announcement live (in Swedish) here.

UPDATE: Here's The Local's article on the government reshuffle.

Swedish vocabulary: government reshuffle – regeringsombildning

Stefan Löfven's government pictured back in 2019, with Isabella Lövin right of the prime minister. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer / TT

Sweden tweaks vaccine priority list and announces vaccine passport

Everyone in Sweden aged over 65 will be included in the next priority group for the Covid-19 vaccine, the government announced on Thursday, along with other changes to vaccine prioritisation. This included adding people who may have special difficulty adhering to recommendations, such as those with dementia or Down Syndrome and homeless people, will be included in the third phase of the vaccination programme.

Sweden also announced that work was under way to offer a digital 'vaccine certificate' to all those who get a Covid-19 vaccine in the country. The aim is to have this ready by summer, and it may be a requirement for certain kinds of travel.

Swedish vocabulary: vaccine certificate/passport – vaccinpass

Photo: Malin Hoelstad/SvD/TT

Sami market gets under way online – for the first time in four centuries

The winter market of Jokkmokk usually attracts 50,000 visitors, but had to cancel the in-person event for the first time in 400 years due to the pandemic.

But that hasn't stopped the market, with a series of lectures, exhibitions and concerts being broadcast live online until the end of the weekend.

Swedish vocabulary: market – marknad

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden considers more Covid restrictions and warns of 'big risk of a third wave'

Swedish authorities on Thursday warned of great uncertainty around how the coronavirus will develop.

“There is a big risk of a third wave,” said state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, “and a clear need to continue following the measures that we have in place. The more contacts we have, above all with new people we don't normally have contact with, the greater the risk of spreading infection. Contacts should be limited as much as possible.”

In the meantime, the government extended a ban on post-8pm alcohol sales at restaurants, clubs and bars, and said it was preparing legally binding guidelines for domestic travel and to shut down shops and businesses, to be used if needed.

Swedish vocabulary: third wave – tredje våg

Photo: Simon Samuelsson/TT

Criticism over healthcare bosses taking vaccine doses ahead of patients

Two people in leadership positions at the Karolinska University Hospital are taking time out from their work while they are being investigated 'skipping the queue' for Covid-19 vaccinations.

The news from the hospital came after several regions reported that doses left over had been given to bosses and staff who did not belong to priority groups. Currently Sweden is in the first phase of its vaccination programme, which means doses should only be given to people over 70 who live in care homes or receive at-home care, as well as health or care workers who have direct contact with people in that group, and adults who live with someone over 70 receiving at-home care.

At an LSS care home for elderly people with functional disabilities in Malmö, nine out of ten vaccine doses had been given to staff rather than residents who belong to the priority group, Sydsvenskan reports. The region is now investigating the home's prioritisation and its vaccine coordinator said staff were “wrong” to vaccinate so many staff before vulnerable residents over 70.

The Public Health Agency was asked about the reports on Thursday, with state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell saying they were “serious” and that everyone involved in vaccination programme had a great responsibility to follow the national prioritisation order.

Swedish vocabulary: serious – allvarlig

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