Sweden could face new restrictions as Covid hospitalisations surge

Sweden could face new restrictions as Covid hospitalisations surge
File photo of oxygen tubes at a hospital in Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Covid-19 hospital admissions are on the rise in almost all of Sweden, and if the increase continues more restrictions could be in the pipeline, warns the Public Health Agency.

A total of 473 Covid-19 patients were being treated in Swedish hospitals on Monday, up from 354 last week, according to figures from the Public Health Agency. Of those, 60 were in intensive care units, up from 46 last Monday. Beware that the exact numbers may vary depending on how quick Sweden’s 21 regions are to update their own figures, so they may not be entirely up to date.

The Public Health Agency’s director-general Karin Tegmark Wisell warned that there’s a risk that restrictions will need to be stepped up if the numbers continue to increase when the agency presents its winter forecast to the government early next week.

“If it continues this way it is possible we will soon need to return to further measures,” Tegmark Wisell told TT on Tuesday.

Sweden’s hospitalisation rate is currently low compared to previous peaks and to many other European countries – but it is increasing fast, and the National Board of Health and Welfare predicts that the burden on healthcare will increase over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

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In the Stockholm region, both the Södersjukhuset and Danderyd hospitals entered so-called stabsläge on Tuesday – essentially a heightened state of preparedness to quickly be able to decide on the reallocation of internal resources and to call in extra staff.

“The situation is challenging, with both Covid-19 and the seasonal flu affecting both patients and staff,” said Danderyd Hospital’s CEO Yvonne Haglund Åkerlind in a statement.

Some of the restrictions and recommendations that may be introduced in Sweden if the situation worsens include rolling out vaccine passes to venues such as restaurants and long-distance public transport, strengthening work-from-home guidelines and partly returning to distance teaching at universities.

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