Government’s handling of the pandemic under review
Sweden’s parliamentary Constitutional Committee (KU) will look into whether the government fulfilled its duty of running the country, or delegated responsibility to the Public Health Agency, when a series of hearings into the national Covid-19 strategy begin today. In a report to the KU, the opposition party the Moderates have questioned whether the government made clear decisions on the strategy.
The KU’s review is separate from Sweden’s coronavirus commission, which is also examining how the government and other authorities acted during the crisis, and in its first report stated that the government was ultimately responsible for failings in the strategy.
The KU will also look into questions such as how the government handled measures to expand Covid-19 testing and tracing, access to protective material, and whether work on Sweden’s pandemic law was started in good time. The review should be complete in early June.
Swedish vocabulary: government – regering
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Sweden updates rules on travel into the country
Sweden on Wednesday updated its rules on travel from overseas. From March 31st, stricter restrictions on travel from Denmark, Norway and the UK will be lifted, after which Denmark and Norway will be treated like other EU and EEA countries, meaning travel to Sweden for any purpose is allowed.
Travel from the UK will be subject to the same rules as other non-EU countries. A ban on travel into Sweden from non-EU/EEA countries was extended until at least May 31st, although several exceptions are in place.
Foreign travellers are also required to show a negative Covid-19 test on arrival (though there are some exceptions, including for people who live and Sweden). And all arriving travellers — regardless of nationality, where you’re travelling from, and Covid-19 test result — should isolate for seven days on arrival.
Swedish vocabulary: to isolate (oneself) – isolera sig
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT
Regions and businesses struggle to get people to follow Covid rules
Several regions have warned of difficulties in enforcing Sweden’s coronavirus restrictions, particularly relating to shopping alone, keeping distance from others within shops, and keeping within maximum customer limits.
The most recent report from Sweden’s regions, who are responsible for carrying out inspections, shows that these rules are not being followed, and that staff responsible for enforcing the rules, such as shop workers, face difficulties including having to keep up with changing regulations, anxiety about enforcing them and risking anger from shoppers.
Swedish vocabulary: to shop alone – handla ensam
Where is Sweden’s lowest point (and why do people care)?
That’s a hotly debated topic in southern Sweden. Kristianstad currently holds the official title, with signs and information for visitors, but now Sölvesborg, about 30 kilometres east, has argued it is the true home of Sweden’s lowest point.
“If we have the lowest point in Sweden, it means that tourists who otherwise might just rush through Blekinge on the E22 instead make a detour. And it’s worth it,” the person behind the latest appeal (the debate actually goes back to at least 1991) told Blekinge Läns Tidning.
Kristianstad may not be that concerned about losing the honours, with local councillor Pierre Månsson telling Kristianstadsbladet: “I really do not understand why it would be something to be proud of, that the lowest point is in Kristianstad. I wish we didn’t have the lowest bloody point.” He pointed out that being low-lying has cost the municipality a lot of money in flood prevention.
Swedish vocabulary: lowest point – lägsta punkt
Happy Waffle Day!
Lastly, one thing to know about Sweden is it never misses a chance to celebrate a random day with a sweet dessert. Today is officially Waffle Day (Våffeldagen), which came about thanks to a mispronunciation of the holier but less delicious Vårfrudagen (Our Lady Day), a Catholic holiday. Find our recipe for Swedish waffles here.
Swedish vocabulary: waffle – våffel