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

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 Thursday
The number of new Covid-19 cases is on a sharp increase in Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden’s new Covid-19 measures come into effect

Sweden rolls out new recommendations and restrictions today to curb a rise in Covid-19 infections, with restaurants now only allowing table service. Public events with more than 20 attendees may only go ahead with a seated audience, and in addition they need to either require vaccine passes or limit groups of people to eight and make sure they sit a metre apart.

There are several other new rules that come into force today. Read more HERE about some of the rules and guidelines that Swedish authorities have issued ahead of the Christmas holidays.

Swedish vocabulary: table service – bordsservering

SJ’s new bid to resolve Christmas staffing crisis

Swedish train operator SJ has offered staff to work extra shifts during their time off in exchange for 4,500 kronor per shift, in order to plug staff shortages due to illness, reports P4 Göteborg.

SJ earlier this week cancelled around 20-30 trains per day during the week of Christmas, and cancellations are also expected the week after. But more carriages will be added on to trains that are running, and Christmas travellers will be rebooked onto those trains, said SJ.

Swedish vocabulary: a train – ett tåg

Covid-19 cases increase 30 percent in Sweden

The number of confirmed new cases of Covid-19 increased by 30 percent in Sweden over the last week, said the Public Health Agency at a press conference on Wednesday. This increase was especially noticeable in the major cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.

A record number of people in Sweden were tested for Covid-19 last week: more than 380,000, of which 6.4 percent were positive. Sweden’s 14-day incidence rate stood at 416 new infections per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, up from 313 last week. On Wednesday, 91 Covid-19 patients were being treated in intensive care, with 471 in hospital in other units.

In the Public Health Agency’s worst-case scenario, presented earlier this week, Sweden will have almost 14,000 new cases per day in mid-January. In the middle scenario, 8,000 cases per day, and in the best-case scenario, this number will be 4,000 per day.

Swedish vocabulary: an increase – en ökning

Sweden to launch new vaccine pass tool for foreign vaccinations

Sweden is set to launch a new service next year which will allow residents who got vaccinated overseas to apply for a Swedish vaccine pass.

The Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the service is expected to be rolled out by February 1st 2022 “at the latest”.

The statement said it will initially be available to people who “have moved back to Sweden, got registered in the Swedish population register [this is essentially the equivalent of having a Swedish social security number, the personnummer] and have a digital mailbox”.

Swedish vocabulary: at the latest – senast

New job-seeker visa in Swedish government’s bid to overhaul work permits

Sweden is pushing ahead with new proposals to tighten work permit rules, including measures to crack down on “talent deportation” and a new visa for highly educated job-seekers.

In a draft bill, the government suggests introducing a new residence permit of up to nine months for well-qualified international talent to look for work or explore starting a business in Sweden.

The applicant should have completed the equivalent of a degree at “advanced level” – which in Sweden counts as studies beyond a Bachelor’s degree – and have enough means to support themselves while they look for work. Click HERE to read more about the new proposals.

Swedish vocabulary: a work permit – ett arbetstillstånd

Sweden to bar vaccinated foreign tourists without negative Covid test

Foreign tourists travelling to Sweden will have to show a negative Covid-19 test to be allowed into the country from December 28th, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated.

International travellers will need to show a negative Covid-19 test no older than 48 hours according to the new rules, which will come into force on December 28th.

The test requirement will apply to adults and children over the age of 12, regardless of whether you are travelling from the Nordic countries, the EU/EEA, or the rest of the world – with a series of exceptions, including for foreigners who live in Sweden.

Swedish vocabulary: adults and children – vuxna och barn

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

Explosion in Solna, deadly shooting record broken and autumnal equinox. Here's Sweden's news on Friday.

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

Apartments evacuated after explosion in Solna

A major explosion occured in Huvudsta in Solna, just north of Stockholm, late on Thursday night. Residents of the affected apartment block have been evacuated.

No one has been arrested after the incident which is being investigated as grov allmänfarlig ödeläggelse (grave devastation endangering the public).

The explosion occured in or next to an apartment block, damaging the stairwell and some windows, police press spokesperson Daniel Wikdahl told newswire TT.

The blast was heard over large parts of Solna and in some areas of Stockholm. Rescue services were still on-site early on Friday morning, but residents were not yet able to access their apartments.

There are no known injuries and police are unsure as to whether the explosion was targeting a specific apartment or whether it is related to gang violence.

Swedish vocabulary: flerfamiljshus – apartment block (literally, “multiple family house”)

Autumnal equinox arrives: ‘Days the same length worldwide’

The autumnal equinox – the time between the summer and winter solstice where day and night are the same length worldwide – took place this morning at 03:03am.

From now on, the nights will be longer than days in Sweden.

“Darkness is drawing in and it might be time to get your cosy lighting out,” SVT’s meteorologist Marcus Sjöstedt told the public broadcaster.

The onset of autumn can also be seen in the weather, where Sjöstedt predicts more cloudy skies this weekend with some rain showers.

“Next week we can expect some more unstable weather with rain and clouds at times. High pressure is conspicuously absent, as is the warmth,” he said.

Despite the weather, Sjöstedt is still positive.

“It’s quite nice that the days are equally as long across the whole world. That still gives you a certain feeling of solidarity.”

Swedish vocabulary: höstdagjämningen – autumnal equinox. (Bonus vocabulary: mysbelysning – cosy lighting)

Sweden breaks yearly record for deadly shootings

A man in his twenties was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night.

He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record set in 2020 has been overtaken, despite it only being September.

The alarm was raised at 11pm om Thursday, where police were informed of a shooting in the north of the city.

“Then there were a number of calls concerning gunfire, but also about an injured person on Göingegatan,” Evelina Olsson, police press spokesperson in the southern police district, told TT during the night.

He was transferred to hospital in an ambulance but his life could not be saved.

“We know who he is now and his family has been notified,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT. “We can’t say more than that he is in his twenties and that we currently have no suspects.”

Kristianstad has been affected by multiple shootings – as recently as this weekend, a man in his 30s was found with bullet injuries in the same area of the city.

Swedish vocabulary: skjutningar – shootings