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

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
Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

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

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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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