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

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Gävle's famous Christmas goat has been burned down. Photo: Pernilla Wahlman/ TT
Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Christmas goat in Gävle burned down

Sweden’s most famous julbock, Gävlebocken, burned down in the early hours of Friday morning. A man in his 40s has been arrested on suspicion of arson.

The 13-metre-high giant straw goat in the Swedish east coast town of Gävle is famous around the world for being set on fire (which, just to be clear, is illegal!). Since its inception in 1966, the Gävlebock has burned down 30 times. It last burned down in 2016.

If it had survived this Christmas season, it would have been a historic year for the goat, which has never survived five consecutive years before.

Since 1988, people in Sweden and across the world have been able to bet on the Gävlebock’s fate each year – both whether it will survive the Christmas season, as well as which date it will burn down.

Swedish vocabulary: julbock – Christmas goat

‘Hard to change attitudes’ on face masks

Many are still using public transport without wearing face masks, despite recommendations to wear masks being reintroduced over a week ago, newswire TT reports.

Anders Tegnell, state epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, told newpaper Dagens Nyheter that he thinks the agency’s previous scepticism to face masks may have contributed towards this.

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“We can’t get away from the fact that we have been sceptical towards face masks, and people have understandably picked up on that, and have it in the back of their mind. And then it’s hard to change that attitude,” he said.

According to Tegnell, a more effective protection than face masks is to avoid crowding completely and avoid travelling with public transport. “But if you need to be there, then masks are important, otherwise we wouldn’t recommend them,” he said.

Swedish vocabulary: munskydd – face masks

Swedes smoking less during the pandemic

Many smokers in Sweden have chosen to smoke less since the pandemic started, according to a new report from the Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN).

This is CAN’s first study which can show how Swedes’ smoking habits have changed during the pandemic.

Most smokers say that their smoking hasn’t been affected, but 27 percent of occasional smokers and 16 percent of daily smokers report that their consumption has decreased, says the report.

“You can imagine that situations where you might smoke – such as smoking at parties – haven’t happened. And in the early pandemic, studies came out showing that smokers could be more seriously affected by Covid-19, which might have had an effect,” said Martina Zetterqvist, a researcher involved with the study.

Cigarette sales have also decreased during the pandemic. “We can see that there’s been a relatively large decrease between 2019 and 2020 in the amount of cigarettes consumed. Consumption decreased by 7 percent during the year,” she continued.

Swedish vocabulary: rökvanor – smoking habits


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