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

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 Thursday
Staff at a drop-in Covid-19 test centre in Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden’s emergency information service apologises for ‘unacceptable’ Twitter comments

KrisInformation.se, the platform which shares crisis information from Swedish authorities, has apologised for responses to posts on Twitter on Tuesday. Most of the posts in questions were responding to users who were critical of Sweden’s decision to pause the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Replies from the account called one Twitter user “fact-resistant”, and in response to another, said: “Is that sufficient for you, to be angry? You’ve been angry now. Hope you feel better tomorrow!” 

The service has reviewed posts made and has said that some of the answers are unacceptable, saying “This is not how people should be responded to on our channels. We apologise.”

Swedish vocabulary: unacceptable – oacceptabel

A record number of people filed their tax returns within a day

Just a day after Sweden’s online tax return opened, over a million people had completed it digitally. The exact number was a record 1.04 million, up from 766,000 people within the same time period last year. In total, 8.1 million people in Sweden are expected to file a tax return this year.

The incentive for early declaration, before March 30th, is that you are more likely to get any tax rebate in April, while others will wait until June if they leave it until the final deadline of May 3rd.

Swedish vocabulary: tax return – skattedeklaration

Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Sweden’s Digitalisation Minister sceptical of EU vaccine passport plans

The EU Commission has proposed a common vaccine passport to facilitate summer travel.

Swedish Digitalisation Minister Anders Ygeman, who earlier in the year announced plans for a Swedish digital vaccine pass, said he was positive to the idea “in principle” but foresaw several issues.

“How shall I put it diplomatically? It is a very ambitious timeframe,” he told the TT newswire.

He also said that one important question was how to deal with people who cannot be vaccinated, for example due to allergies. Not including this information and not allowing these people to travel could be discriminatory, but including it would lead to concerns over data and medical privacy, according to Ygeman.

Swedish vocabulary: passport – pass

Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT 

Incitement to suicide will become a crime in Sweden

Urging someone else to kill themselves will become a crime with a punishment of up to two years’ imprisonment.

This comes after the government on Wednesday accepted a parliamentary proposal, and the law changes will come into force from May 1st. Two new crimes will be introduced: incitement to suicide which will carry the maximum two-year sentence, and negligent incitement, which carries a punishment of fines or up to six months in prison.

Swedish vocabulary: crime – brott

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Covid hits hospitals, storms in Western Sweden, and Social Democrats launch campaign: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Covid resurgence putting hospitals under pressure

Hospitals are under pressure in many areas of Sweden after a resurgence in Covid-19 infections coincides with the summer holiday months, the Public Health Agency has said in press conference. 

“There are more patients in hospital both with and being treated for Covid-19 than in past summers, which is affecting healthcare now during the holiday season,” Sara Byfors, a unit chief at the agency said on Thursday. “This also means that a lot of people who work in healthcare and who are sick need to stay home.” 

Infection rates have risen significantly in recent weeks, with 5,200 cases a week in the two weeks leading up to July 24th, compared to 1,000 cases in the first week of June, but Byfors stressed that there were still far fewer patients being treated for Covid-19 than in previous peaks of infection, with 13 Covid deaths on the worst day this June, compared to a peak of 121 deaths a day in the first Covid-19 wave in 2020. 

Swedish Vocab: ett dödsfall – a death 

Storms tear off roofs and blow down trees in western Sweden 

On Thursday evening, storms and heavy rain hit much of Sweden, with rescue services reporting roofs being blown off and trees blown over in Töreboda in the Västergötland region near Gothenburg. According to rescue services, the storm has weakened as it moved to the East. 

“It was at its worst in the evening. If we look later on in the night, we can see that it has calmed down somewhat, when we talk about lightning in any case. There are still some powerful downpours here and there,” said Ulrica Sievert, a meteorologist at state forecaster SMHI. 

SMHI has not removed the storm warnings it had up on its website yesterday. 

Swedish vocab: åskväder – thunderstorms

Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats launch ‘presidential’ election campaign

The Social Democrats rolled out their election campaign on Thursday, focusing heavily on leader Magdalena Andersson, law and order, and jobs, and dropping the environment as a priority.

In a press conference held by party secretary Tobias Baudin, the ruling Social Democrats revealed their campaign posters for the upcoming election on September 11th.

Baudin also explained the Social Democrats’ goal for the upcoming election.

“Formally, our goal is to get a better result than last time, where we got 28.3%,” he said. “We’ve got good hopes of breaking that with a good margin. Our focus, and my focus, obviously, is to get as many votes as possible.”

“The more votes we get, the better chance we have of carrying out the policies we are going into the election with.”

He did, however, indicate that the party could be open to forming a coalition government following September’s election.

“Our goal is to form a Social Democrat government or a Social Democrat-led government after the election,” he said.

“We can work with all parties apart from the Sweden Democrats, but obviously those who are closest to us are the Greens, the Left Party and the Centre Party”.

Swedish Vocab: presidentvalskamp – a presidential election campaign 

Swedish opposition leader: ‘We are agreed enough on the big issues’

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson kicked off his party’s election campaign on Thursday, with a speech that presented himself as the only candidate backed by a coalition of parties with a common programme.

In a speech in front of four hundred Moderate party members in the city of Norrköping, Kristersson said that unlike ruling the Social Democrats, his party was backed by three other parties that were agreed on enough to get necessary reforms enacted in government.

“We have slowly but surely built a team on our side of politics which is ready and has both the will and the ability,” he said. “Four different parties which are not agreed on everything, but which are sufficiently agreed on the big issues to together get results.”

He reiterated the praise he had given to the populist Sweden Democrats party in his speech at the Almedalen political festival at the start of July.

“No other party has warned as consistently as the Sweden Democrats that Sweden cannot continue to increase immigration if we want to handle the problems with integration,” he said. “And that’s something I appreciate.”

Swedish vocab: de stora sakfrågorna – the big issues 

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