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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
Vaccinations get underway at a conference centre north of Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden’s spring budget to be presented today

Sweden’s spring budget is being presented to parliament today, including 45 billion kronor intended to “take Sweden out of the crisis”, which covers extended support for businesses and cash for other Covid-19 measures. Some of the plans have already been announced by the government, including 1.7 billion kronor for vaccine costs, 2 billion kronor to fund the cost of healthcare that was postponed due to Covid-19, and 1.65 billion kronor for large-scale testing and contact tracing.

The government has also announced funding for public transport, and vocational programmes combined with language lessons for new arrivals. We will have more details on The Local later today.

Swedish vocabulary: billion – miljard

What’s going on with Covid-19 vaccinations in Sweden?

The Swedish Public Health Agency has paused the use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) Covid-19 vaccine before it began being rolled out in Sweden. This comes after the company itself said it would delay its European rollout due to concerns over rare potential side effects detected in the United States.

We’ve got an update on where the vaccination programme is up to in all of Sweden’s 21 regions. Most have begun what’s called Phase 2 by offering the vaccine to over-65s as well as people on dialysis or recent transplant recipients, but in five regions the cut-off age is still 70. One of them is Stockholm, where every other available timeslot for vaccination is currently unbooked, so if you know someone aged over 70 in Stockholm, make sure they know they are eligible.

Two regions, Kalmar and Halland, are opening booking to over-60s this week.

Swedish vocabulary: over-70s – 70-plussare

Region Värmland tells residents: Assume everyone you meet is infected

A week after Uppsala warned residents to go into a “personal lockdown”, another region, Värmland, is warning people they need to do more to cut down social contacts and “assume that everyone you meet is infected”, and behave as if you yourself are infected.

This wording is stronger than that used by authorities throughout by the pandemic, but the recommendations are still largely the same between all regions: only socialise with people you live with (or a few others within your close circle, for example if you live alone), keep a distance from other people indoors and outdoors, and limit use of public transport and shops as much as possible. Some regions are also asking residents to avoid all non-essential travel, and to wear face masks at all times on public transport and in public indoor environments.

Because these recommendations rely on high levels of compliance, some regions are now sharpening the tone used in public health communications.

Swedish vocabulary: infected – smittad

ICU staff ‘on their knees’ as cases rise

More than a year after the coronavirus first started spreading widely in Sweden, and with ICU admissions for the virus higher than at any point during the second wave, many Swedish hospital staff are worn out.

“We gave everything, but we have been working at maximum capacity for a year now,” one ICU worker in Gothenburg told Dagens Nyheter

Matilda Eriksson, who is the workplace environment representative, said more and more staff were being signed off for sick leave, and that there were also more reports of staff planning to resign in order to take a break.

Swedish vocabulary: intensive care – intensivvård

‘Intensive year’ introduced for new arrivals to Sweden

Starting on April 15th, the Swedish Public Employment Service is offering a new so-called ‘intensive year’ for new arrivals, where a combination of professional training and language lessons is intended to get them into the job market within a year. 

To begin with, it won’t be possible to apply for the programme, with authorities instead selecting around 1,500 participants.

Swedish vocabulary: job market – jobbmarknad

Sweden could make it illegal to deny the Holocaust

Sweden’s government wants to make it illegal to deny that the Holocaust, as is the case in 16 other countries in Europe and several more worldwide, the Justice Minister told Swedish radio.

“I want to have a law where it clearly states that the Holocaust happened, and that propaganda [denying this] can be prosecuted as agitation against an ethnic group,” minister Morgan Johansson said. He said there were three reasons for such a law: growing far-right extremism, the ease of spreading false propaganda through social media, and the fact that few people who lived through the Holocaust are still living.

But it will take time for such a law to be passed, and the first step is putting together a parliamentary committee to look into the question.

Swedish vocabulary: the Holocaust – Förintelsen

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

Court rules on Easter rioters, a wolf shot in Skåne, Midsummer drownings, and Nato talks: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup.

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

Court in Örebro to rule on four involved in Easter riots 

A court in Örebro will rule today on four men accused of throwing stones at police over the Easter weekend, and in some cases also filmed attacks on police and encouraged others to carry out attacks. 

The men are accused of the crime of blåljussabotage, literally “blue light sabotage”, which covers attacks on police officers and their cars and other equipment. 

According to the prosecution, the four men attacked and threatened police, damaged police vehicles, and injured police dogs. The attacks took place during protests against plans by the far-right activist Rasmus Paludan to burn copies of the Koran in the city. 

Swedish vocab: blåljussabotage – damaging police property and materials.

Two men drowned in lakes in Sweden over Midsummer weekend 

Police have reported two separate cases of elderly men drowning over the Midsummer weekend, one in Blekinge in southern Sweden, and the other in Vaxholm, outside Stockholm. 
In Blekinge, a  70-year-old man died after falling into the Halen lake in Olofström, on Sunday evening. He was pulled from the water before the ambulance arrived but was declared dead at 9pm. One of the man’s relatives called the emergency services. 

The man in Vaxholm, who was also described as “elderly”, died after falling overboard from a boat on Sunday afternoon. The man’s body was found by divers at 17.30pm.

Swedish vocab: en drunkningsolycka – a drowning accident 

Wolf shot in southern Sweden after attacking sheep

A wolf was shot on Sunday in Svälov, a municipality between the cities of Lund and Helsingborg in southern Sweden. The animal, one of the wolves spotted recently in the far south of Sweden, had attacked a sheep.

“The farmer fired off a warning shot to discourage further attacks, but that did not help, and so a deadly shot was then fired,” said Tom Espgård, who works on predatory animals for Skåne county. 

The wolf, a female weighing 34kg, was shot according to a paragraph in Sweden’s hunting law which allows livestock owners to shoot predators if they find them attacking their animals. 

Swedish vocab: en tamdjursägare – a livestock owner

Swedish PM: ‘I look forward to meeting Erdogan in Madrid’ 

Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson responded positively to the downbeat assessment of Nato talks with Turkey given by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Saturday. 

“Good call earlier today with President Erdogan of Turkey on Sweden’s Nato application,” Andersson wrote on Twitter. “Agreed on the importance of making progress in the run-up to the NATO Summit in Madrid next week, where I look forward to meeting President Erdogan and other Allied leaders.”

In a thread posted on Twitter, the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey said that Erdogan had told Andersson that Sweden had so far taken “no tangible action” towards making “concrete changes in its attitude towards PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist organization”. 

The thread also said that Turkey wants several people it sees as connected to these organisations extradited from Sweden. 

Read our story on Erdogan’s comments here

Swedish vocab: utlämnade – extradited