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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
People on Stockholm restaurant terraces after opening hours were extended yesterday. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

Sweden’s Stefan Löfven given chance to form a government after opposition leader abandons bid

Stefan Löfven, who resigned as Swedish prime minister on Monday, is the next politician given the task to try to form a new government after opposition rival Ulf Kristersson, announced on Thursday that his own attempt had been unsuccessful.

Löfven now has until Monday to report back to the speaker, when he can either say he believes he has enough support to pass a parliamentary vote, say he does not believe this is the case, or ask for more time to continue talks.  This means that a vote on his candidacy as prime minister could be held on Wednesday at the earliest.

Swedish vocabulary: politician – politiker

Sweden’s 14-day incidence rate down to 45 new cases per 100,000 people

That was one of the key stats from the final regular Covid-19 press conference from the Swedish authorities before the summer break (they have said they will hold further briefings at short notice if needed). The Public Health Agency estimates that the more highly contagious Delta variant of the virus will be dominant in Sweden by the end of the summer, but does not believe this will necessarily increase the overall infection rate in the country.

“We have a continued decline in the number of cases, but it is still important to be vigilant, especially for local outbreaks,” said Sara Byfors of the Public Health Agency.

The Local asked Byfors if the restrictions in Sweden, which were relaxed on July 1st, are likely to be sufficient in keeping the overall spread of the virus low. 

She said: “We think that we are keeping most of the basic recommendations: keep your distance to people you don’t know, avoid areas where you think there will be crowding. It’s very important that we continue like we have done up to now and follow these recommendations. It’s also important that individuals take the responsibility to isolate when you have symptoms, and to be really careful when you meet other people. Meet outside, don’t socialise in too big groups and so on.”

You can watch the full press conference online here. The Local’s questions, asked and answered in English, come around 1hr10. 

Issues after Sweden’s Covid-19 vaccine pass launch

Sweden’s Covid-19 vaccine pass launched yesterday morning, but not everything worked as it should.

There were waiting times to log into the website due to large numbers of people trying to use it simultaneously, with over 30,000 people applying within the first hour of availability alone.

In addition, some readers of The Local have got in touch to say that their vaccine doses were shown as ‘missing’ when they logged in, though they had been vaccinated well over one week ago, the time it is supposed to take for healthcare staff to report the vaccine to the national vaccination register. The advice from the eHealth Agency in this situation is to contact the centre or doctor’s office where you were vaccinated. If you experience problems, let us know at [email protected]

Swedish vocabulary: waiting time – väntetid

Researchers call for national strategy to support healthcare workers affected by Covid-19

The heavy burden on Sweden’s healthcare sector during the pandemic has led to many workers in the sector suffering from anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, according to a report from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, cited by Swedish Radio Ekot.

The researchers behind the report are calling for a national strategy to reduce the risks and address the consequences of mental health issues among healthcare professionals.

Swedish vocabulary: anxiety – ångest

Gunshot that killed Gothenburg police officer was ‘likely not deliberate’

After a police officer was fatally shot in Gothenburg late on Wednesday night, police say their initial investigation shows, “The most likely thing now is that the shooting was not aimed at the police.”

The police say that an intensive investigation is now underway to find and arrest the suspect. They are interrogating witnesses and reviewing surveillance film, as well as door knocking.

Swedish vocabulary: likely – sannolik

Sweden is getting its first electric road

Sweden’s first permanent electric road, allowing vehicles to charge while driving, will be built on the E20 between Hallsberg and Örebro, the Swedish Transport Administration has announced. This is a pilot project, the first of its kind in the country and set to be completed by 2025.

Swedish vocabulary: electric road – elväg

Central interest rate to remain at zero for another three years

Sweden’s Central Bank said on Thursday the repo interest rate will remain at zero until at least the third quarter of 2024.

Maintaining the key interest rate or repo rate of zero percent has been a way to support Sweden’s economic recovery after an economic slowdown which has been especially strong during the Covid pandemic.

Swedish vocabulary: zero – noll

It just got more expensive to receive gifts from outside the EU

The maximum value limit for which you can receive a gift from a country outside the EU has been lowered from 1,600 kronor to 500 kronor, effective from July 1st according to Swedish Customs.

This means that if a gift is sent to you from a non-EU country below the value of 500 kronor, you will pay no customs, VAT or taxes but if its value is between 500 and 1,600 kronor, you will pay VAT but no customs or other taxes.

Swedish vocabulary: gift – gåva

Restaurants open later, but some have difficulties re-hiring staff

Restaurants and bars can return to their usual opening hours after pandemic limits were removed, but some are having difficulties finding workers, and not just because it’s the start of Sweden’s summer holiday period.

“We have been able to keep everything going, but we have had many people laid off and they are driven and skilled people. They easily apply to other industries in a way they might not have done in ordinary cases,” Jonas Stenberg, CEO of the hotel and restaurant group ESS Group, told the TT newswire.

The Hotel and Restaurant Union (HRF) had just over 27,000 members in June, around 2,000 fewer than in December 2019 before the crisis. 

Swedish vocabulary: staff – personal

June brought record heat to Sweden

Heat records were broken this Sweden in June, with Målilla in Småland reporting the country’s highest June temperature since 1947 at 34.6C, and Stockholm recording a monthly average temperature of 19.3C, which compares to the record from Strömstad in June 1889.

Some locations experienced tropical nights (a 24-hour period where the temperature never drops below 20C), usually associated with August. The warmest night was in Hörby in Skåne on June 19th. 

Swedish vocabulary: tropical night – tropisk natt

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