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

Today in Sweden: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday
A six-metre tall unicorn in central Malmö, and the other stories on the news agenda today. Photo: Johan Nilsson/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.

More than one million people in Sweden fully vaccinated against Covid-19

We’ll start with some good news: Sweden on Tuesday reached the milestone of one million people in the country being fully vaccinated against Covid-19. All the vaccines currently in use in Sweden require two doses, and as of Tuesday a total of 3,300,122 people had received at least one dose, of whom 1,020,493 have had both doses.

That’s 40.3 and 12.5 of the adult population respectively (although children can catch and spread Covid-19, Sweden is measuring vaccines by the proportion of the adult population because no vaccines are yet approved for use in children).

The chart below from Our World in Data shows that this puts Sweden slightly below the EU average, and in the middle of the nine countries covered by The Local.

Swedish vocabulary: fully vaccinated – färdigvaccinerad

Six-metre tall unicorn in Malmö to celebrate World Pride

Malmö has invested in a six-metre sculpture of a unicorn in the central Gustav Adolfs Torg ahead of World Pride, to be held jointly by Malmö and Copenhagen this summer.

The municipality said this was part of a set of actions for the event to promote inclusion, some serious such as training municipal employees in LGBTQ rights, and others decorative, such as painting public benches and rubbish bins with rainbow designs.

Moderate politicians in Stockholm have criticised the use of municipal funds to buy the unicorn, arguing that because Malmö receives funds through a nationwide ‘equalization system’ that sends money to councils that need it most, it should spend the money more carefully.

Swedish vocabulary: unicorn – enhörning

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See also on The Local:

Several Covid-19 support measures further extended

The government has extended several support measures for people and businesses hard hit by the pandemic. This includes compensation for people in risk groups who miss work due to the pandemic (for example if they cannot work from home), subsidies to cover businesses’ lost revenue, and support for short-term lay-offs. These measures have been extended until September

As for whether the pandemic law – which gives authorities extra powers such as limiting businesses’ opening times, setting limits on people allowed to gather in public places or go into shops, and sets out the possibility for fines for violations – will be extended, that’s not yet clear. It is currently set to expire at the end of September, and the TT newswire reports that the government will not make a decision on whether to extend it further until after the summer.

Swedish vocabulary: to expire – att löpa ut

Average age of Covid-19 fatalities falls

One consequence of the vaccination rollout is that fewer elderly people are getting severely ill with Covid-19, thanks to the protection offered by the vaccine.

During most of the pandemic, the majority of Covid-19 deaths in Sweden have been among people aged 80-89, but in April, the mortality rate was highest among people aged 70-79.

Overall, the death rate has declined since the start of the year, although that decline stagnated during the peak of the third wave as the protection offered by vaccines was counter-balanced by a rise in the spread of infection.

Swedish vocabulary: die – dö or avlida

Should phones be banned in classrooms?

It could happen as part of a new national plan for “security and calm studying environments” in Sweden’s schools.

Under the proposals, mobile phone use would be banned during lessons unless the teacher instructed children to use them to aid learning or in the case of special exemptions. Currently, teachers are only allowed to confiscate phones if they are actively being used to disrupt learning, though in some schools children are asked to hand their phones in voluntarily at the start of lessons.

This is part of a set of proposals that are now out for consultation while relevant authorities and other actors give their feedback. If passed, the plan is for them to come into effect for the 2022 autumn term.

Swedish vocabulary: classroom – klassrum

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