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

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

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven looks set to face a vote of no confidence next week. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Sweden’s government in crisis

The top story today is a looming no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. It was sparked when the Left Party threatened to put forward such a vote to protest market rents, but now the Sweden Democrats (on the opposite side of the political spectrum) have taken matters into their own hands and decided to call for a vote of no confidence before Midsummer next week.

Unlike the Left Party, the Sweden Democrats have enough sitting MPs to call this vote, and at the time of writing it looks like a majority of parliament would vote in favour, with the Christian Democrat and Moderate parties also saying they would vote to bring down the government. 

Speaking in parliament, Löfven said it was “not responsible” to call for the vote during the coronavirus crisis. You can catch up on the full story here, and we will report on any updates throughout the day.

Swedish vocabulary: air – luft

Delta variant is ‘biggest concern’ for authorities

The number of newly reported Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations is falling in Sweden, but the biggest concern is the spread of the Delta variant of the virus which is thought to be more infectious, the Public Health Agency said on Thursday.

The agency’s director Johan Carlson said the variant was likely present in all or most Swedish regions, but only three (Blekinge, Kronoberg and Värmland) had so far seen confirmed outbreaks. The government said the spread of the variant was not yet significant enough to change the re-opening plan, with the next set of restrictions currently expected to be relaxed on July 1st, but that may change depending on what happens in the next few weeks and if compliance with existing restrictions is high enough to curb the spread of the virus.

Swedish vocabulary: infectious – smittsam

Fewer patients received the right healthcare during the pandemic

It was already known that the Covid-19 pandemic placed a huge burden on healthcare, leading to delayed and adapted care for non-urgent conditions, and a new evaluation from the National Board of Health and Welfare looked at which patients were worst affected.

Care for cardiovascular diseases was largely able to follow the same guidelines as before, the report showed, but patients with chronic diseases such as dementia and diabetes were among those who received less care than recommended in national guidelines. The review also showed large differences between regions.

Christina Broman, who worked on the agency’s investigation, told the TT newswire that the report did not look at precisely why patients received fewer healthcare interventions.

“In part, it may be that patients have not wanted to come [to their doctor or hospital] due to the risk of infection and that they followed [medical] advice. In other cases, it may be that healthcare staff instead had to work with Covid-19-related assignments, we have not studied what is what,” she said.

Swedish vocabulary: risk of infection – smittorisk

Restaurant revenues down by a third due to pandemic restrictions

Sweden’s restaurants are estimated to have seen drops in revenue of around a third during the first five months of the year, compared with the same period in 2019, according to a report from industry organisation Visita cited by Swedish Radio Ekot.

Visita said the early closing times of 8.30pm, introduced on March 1st, hit restaurants hardest. In total, the restaurant industry’s revenues are estimated to have decreased by 51 billion since March 2020, as a report from the organisation shows.

Swedish vocabulary: revenue – omsättning

Doctor reported for faking Covid-19 results

A doctor in Stockholm wrote out travel certificates for people who tested positive for Covid-19 several times during the pandemic, P4 Stockholm radio reports.

A colleague discovered the fraud back in October, after which the doctor was given a warning and affected patients were contacted, but according to the report, the doctor continued to issue travel certificates falsely saying patients had tested negative. Now he has been reported to the Healthcare Inspectorate, Ivo, by the company that employs him.

In May, a man was sentenced to 14 days in prison after trying to check in at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport using a false Covid-19 certificate.

Swedish vocabulary: fraud – fusk/bedrägeri

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

New moves towards Nato, Ukrainians to Lund, and a fall in online sales. Find out what's going on in Sweden, with The Local's short roundup.

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

Left-wing Aftonbladet newspaper backs Nato membership

The Aftonbladet newspaper, which describes itself as reflecting an “independent Social Democrat” viewpoint, has switched sides on Nato, with the newspaper’s chief political editor Anders Lindberg arguing in an editorial that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine makes membership of the security organisation necessary. 

“Vladimir Putin’s war demonstrates that we need to join Nato to guarantee Sweden’s security,” Lindberg wrote in an article on Wednesday.  

“I have never previously supported Swedish membership of Nato,” he explained. “On the contrary, I have argued that non-alignment, a strong national defence, and a pragmatic foreign and security policy has worked extremely well. It has kept us out of war and promoted our national interests.”  

But he said that Russia’s invasion had created a “security deficit in Northern Europe”. 

“When I read the arguments for continued military non-alignment, I cannot see any answers to the question of how we should compensate for this deficit,” he wrote. 

Swedish Vocab: en underksott – a deficit 

Finnish parliament to hold historic Nato debate 

The Finnish parliament is to hold a historic five-hour debate in parliament on Wednesday afternoon, which if it backs Nato membership, will make Nato membership for Sweden much more likely. 

The key will be the position taken by the Social Democrats, the part led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and also of the Centre Party, who say they will back Nato membership if the government as a whole does. 

The debate starts at 1.15pm Swedish time. 

Swedish Vocab: en besked – an indication/statement

‘No evidence riots result of foreign influence operation’

The new Swedish Psychological Defence Agency said on Wednesday that there was no evidence the riots over the weekend were encouraged by overseas powers. 

“At present we do not see any ongoing inappropriate influence operations against Sweden,” said Mikael Östlund, the communications chief at the Swedish Psychological Defence Agency. 

Police on Monday said that ahead of the riots over the Easter weekend, they had seen encouragement coming from overseas social media accounts. 

“We know that they is information about encouragement to commit violence against police officers, which has been orchestrated overseas,” said Jonas Hysing, the police officer leading the response to the riots, on Monday. ¨

Swedish vocab: påverkanskampanj – influence operation 

Lund wants to recruit more Ukrainian students 

Lund University wants to make it easier for students from Ukraine to study in Sweden, and has signed an exchange agreement with the Taras Sjevtjenko University in Kiev, it announced in a press release. There were ten Ukrainians studying in lund before Russia’s invasion, and the university aims for that number to increase and for those who are studying to be offered grants. 

Swedish vocab: att locka – to attract 

Swedish PM: ‘Police right to allow Paludan to burn Koran’
Sweden’s Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, has said that the police decision to allow Danish far-Right activist Rasmus Paludan to hold
a Koran-burning demonstration was correct under Sweden’s strong freedom of expression laws, and that, equally, those opposed have a right to mount a counter demonstration. 
“You have the right to demonstrate against it – but peacefully. What we’ve seen is something totally different, and it seems, as police are saying, that there have also been criminal gangs behind this.” 
“It’s important,” she added, “that those responsible are arrested and prosecuted.” 
She said the pictures of the riots had been “terrible”. “I have of course had a lot of thoughts about the police officers who were wounded.”
Swedish vocab: yttrandefriheten – freedom of expression
E-commerce falls from pandemic peak in Sweden

Revenues from e-commerce sites in Sweden fell 17 percent in March compared to the same month last year, according to the Swedish Trade Federation, with all the signs being that sales will decline this year compared to 2021.  

“The growth in e-commerce is flattening out, but it’s also a fact that the average purchase level in March 2022 was still 70 percent higher than just before the pandemic. The relatively high revenues from e-commerce are shadowed by the record year we saw in 2021,” said Johan Davidson, the trade body’s chief economist.