Sweden’s national 14-day incidence rate stood at 78 new cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks, and it so far looks like it’s continuing to increase this week.
To date, Sweden has confirmed 1,109,112 infections, 14,658 people have died within 30 days of testing positive, and 7,646 Covid-19 patients have been in intensive care.
Around 77 percent of everyone who has tested positive recently is aged 40 or younger, which are the age groups that are less likely to be fully vaccinated, since Sweden’s nationwide vaccination programme has generally prioritised older people.
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Byfors urged everyone to follow the recommendations in place to curb the spread of the virus. For example, if you’ve been travelling internationally you should get tested when you return and avoid contact with other people for a week, although the exact guidelines vary depending on where you’ve been and whether or not you are fully vaccinated.
She also urged people to keep working from home if their work allows for it. This recommendation is currently in place until September 30th, but could be extended.
The number of new deaths is still very low at the moment, which is due to the high vaccination rate. More than 90 percent of people aged over 60 have had their first dose, according to the Public Health Agency’s data (you can find more data here, in Swedish). In the adult population as a whole, more than 80 percent have had their first dose and more than 57 percent are fully vaccinated.
But the number of people in intensive care is increasing slightly, said Byfors.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven was joined by Health Minister Lena Hallengren and Public Health Agency director-general Johan Carlson at a press conference later on Thursday. They were expected to announce Sweden’s plan for Covid restrictions in autumn, but said they had no news on this yet. But Löfven said the government would ask parliament to extend the temporary Pandemic Law until January 2022 – this law does not do anything in and of itself, but it gives the government extra powers to make decisions to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The government has previously said it would lift the next round of Covid restrictions at some point in September, but that this depends on the rate of infection and vaccination, as well as the burden on the healthcare sector. If it were to go ahead, it would include removing the limit on the number of people allowed at public events, and removing the rules for restaurants and bars, including indoor areas.