Public Health Agency calls for Sweden to delay loosening of restrictions

Sweden's Public Health Agency has called for the government to delay next month's planned relaxation of coronavirus restrictions and instead continue the "hard work to reduce the level of infection as much as possible".

Public Health Agency calls for Sweden to delay loosening of restrictions
The seats at Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theatre may have to remain empty for another month. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

In a new written request to the government, the Public Health Agency of Sweden warns that relaxing restrictions is no longer advisable after the number of new Covid-19 cases increased by 16 percent between the week ending March 14th and the week ending March 24th, rising further still last week.

“Making any changes in this situation would send a signal that the risk had reduced,” Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, told the TT newswire. “This type of signal can make people reduce their adherence [to recommendations] even more, and when adherence reduces that can have extremely large effects on the spread of infection.”

Sweden’s government has been planning on April 11th to raise the maximum number allowed for seated public events to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors and to change the regulation of amusement parks such as Stockholm’s Gröna Lund and Gothenburg’s Liseberg to allow them to reopen.

The new rules on how amusement parks should limit the number of visitors once they re-open, how to and manage visitors to reduce the risk of infection, came into force last week

In its request, the agency suggests that the planned relaxations can instead take place on May 3rd — but only if the number of cases has begun to decline by then. 

“There’s a hope, if everyone pulls together, that we can see a peak in the middle of April, and then May 3rd would be a reasonable date,” Tegnell said. “But if that doesn’t happen, then we will need to think again.”

The agency had already described the April 11th date as provisional and dependent on the level of infection in society when it first suggested it in a submission to the government made in February. 

The Gröna Lund amusement park on Monday said it planned to open for the first time in a year on May 1st, allowing pre-booked visits only in line with the current plans.

If the government decides to delay the planned relaxation on the agency’s request, this reopening will now have to be delayed by a few days. 

Member comments

  1. You want the fun times back for our kids right? Then don’t open the doors to Gröna Lund full stop – not before the Summer at the very earliest! And only if circumstances have drastically changed. What is this society thinking? This soft approach cannot get any softer. Noone is pulling together. And now the responsibility is falling on society to change behaviour. Are you kidding me? Watch that fall on deaf ears. Why is this country not thinking of their doctors and nurses and the brighter future they just keep delaying for our children.

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