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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

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 Tuesday
Gothenburg's Scandinavium arena transformed into a mass vaccination centre. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Covid-19 pressure on Swedish ICUs is slowly falling

As of Monday, there were a total of 294 Covid-19 patients being cared for in Sweden’s intensive care units, the lowest figure in two months, the national ICU register shows.

That was a 24 percent reduction from the previous week, when the number was at 386, down from the peak of 417 on April 20th.

The number of people being cared for with Covid-19 in other wards has also reduced, but is still at a high level — more than in the UK, for example, which has six times the population but has come further in its vaccination programme.

Swedish vocabulary: peak – topp

B.1.617 Covid-19 variant reported in Sweden

Since the start of May, 20 cases of the Covid-19 variant first reported in India have been detected in Sweden, a report by Swedish radio reveals. In five cases, there is no direct link to travel.

Because the variant was only identified last autumn, data is still limited on any effect it has on the severity of illness or level of infectivity, but UK experts say it is more contagious than the variant first discovered in the UK.

The Swedish Public Health Agency told SR it did not see a reason to introduce new measures as a result of the variant’s arrival in Sweden. There are currently no specific restrictions on travel from India, but it is included in a ban on travel from non-EU/EEA countries, which has exemptions for EU citizens, people living in Sweden, and people travelling for certain reasons.

Swedish vocabulary: contagious – smittsam

Criticism of Sweden’s Covid-19 support packages

Sweden’s Fiscal Policy Council has criticised the government for late announcements and many changes to the financial measures it introduced to support businesses affected by Covid-19.

The report praised the government and parliament for acting quickly with wide-ranging measures, including support for short-term lay-offs, adjustment of businesses, reduced turnover, and deferred tax payments. 

But it also stated that in some cases the support was introduced or extended with late notice, and said that follow-up and evaluation of the measures was also poor.

“The changes have created unnecessary uncertainty and made it difficult for companies and individuals to make informed decisions,” the council wrote.

Swedish vocabulary: support (noun) – stöd

Public Health Agency cuts press conferences to once per week

The Swedish Public Health Agency will only give a coronavirus briefing once a week on Thursdays, instead of twice, it announced on Monday. It has been giving biweekly briefings after initially giving updates daily in the early stages of the pandemic.

This means there will be no update from the authorities today, with the next one on May 20th, but the Covid-19 statistics for deaths, cases, and ICU cases will be updated at 2pm. You’ll find the latest on The Local’s coronavirus blog.

The agency said it may also hold additional briefings at short notice if necessary.

Swedish vocabulary: press conference – pressträff/presskonferens

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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

Training Ukrainian troops, pilots sign SAS deal, house prices, and election pledges: find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup

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

SAS pilots approve new collective agreement

As many as 93 percent of the Danish SAS pilots have voted yes to the agreement which ended strike action but also means, among other things, redeployments, longer working weeks, and lower wages.

The union Dansk Metal announced the level of acceptance on Saturday morning. The pilots could have voted yes or no on the new collective agreement until midnight on Friday evening.

Pilots in Sweden and Norway have also approved the agreement.

Keld Bækkelund Hansen, head of negotiations at Dansk Metal, said “I am incredibly happy. It is a bit atypical to see that a collective agreement negotiation ends in agreements being made that reduce wages and conditions.”

“So, of course, it was exciting how our members viewed the new collective agreement. But they could also see that it was a necessity in relation to SAS’s situation,” he added.

Swedish vocab: att godkänna – to approve 

Majority of households believe house prices will fall 

A clear majority of 57 percent of house households in Sweden now believe house prices will fall, a six percentage points rise on the last month, according to the latest edition of the monthly house price indicator from the country’s SEB bank.  

“It’s clear that an increasingly harsh climate for private finances is affecting house price indications, which lie at the lowest level since the 2008 finance crisis,” said the bank’s private economist Américo Fernández in a press message.

Swedish vocab: kärva – harsh 

Christian Democrats call for national plan for maternity care 

The Christian Democrats have called for a national plan for maternity care, in an election pledge that it the party sees as the first stage in its plan to replace Sweden’s regional health authorities with a national health service. 

“Swedish healthcare is suffering from a system failure, which is spelled ‘regions'”, the party’s leader Ebba Busch, said in her summer speech ahead of September’s election. 

The plan would see the reopening of closed maternity clinics and wards, and a guarantee that threatened clinics and wards be kept open. 

Swedish vocab: att avskaffa – to abolish 

Liberals propose campaign to bring order to Swedish schools 

The Liberal Party has proposed a national campaign to bring order to Swedish schools, which the party is calling an ordningslyft, literally “order lift”. 

The campaign will include an “order contract”, signed by all pupils and parents, and five other proposals, of which two are new. 

The two new proposals are that the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) state clearly that pupils have a responsibility for order in schools, and must come in time for lessons, look after their school books, use decent language, and arrive rested for lessons. Parents also share responsibility, and must, for instance, come to parent-teacher meetings. 

Swedish vocab: förväntningar – expectations

Swedish Armed Forces to give 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers basic training 

Sweden has agreed to send 120 military officers to the UK, where they are expected to help train up to 10,000 Ukrainian citizens basic military training, under a scheme run by the UK. 

“This is important if Ukraine is going to be able to maintain and strengthen its ability to defend itself,” Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, said at a joint press conference with the country’s defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, on Sunday. 

The two made the announcement on a visit to the Armed Forces military base in Boden, northern Sweden. 

Sweden will never have more than 60 military instructors in the UK at any one time, and the scheme is expected to run from August 12th to December 31st. 

Swedish vocab: att upprätthålla – to maintain 

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