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

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 Tuesday
Kiruna, which is being moved to make way for mining expansion in the northern city. Photo: Karin Wesslén/TT

Six-week wait for Swedish Covid vaccine passes by post

People without a Swedish electronic ID must apply for their Covid vaccine passes by post, but delays of up to six weeks can be expected, according to the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. In November, before Sweden introduced a requirement to show a vaccine pass at many public events, the waiting time was between around five and eight days.

EXPLAINED: How to get your Covid-19 vaccine pass in Sweden

The eHealth Agency tells Dagens Nyheter that it has only processed around half of more than 130,000 applications that have been sent in manually. Applying online with an e-ID takes minutes, but the option is not available to large parts of the population, for example people without a Swedish identity number, the personnummer, who instead have to fill in a paper form and send it in by post.

Swedish vocabulary: a day – en dag

IN NUMBERS: Covid patients increase in Sweden over New Year’s period

There are now more Covid-19 patients in Swedish hospitals than at any point since May last year.

More than 610 Covid-19 patients were in hospital on the first day of 2022, according to public broadcaster SVT’s database which collects information from official sources. That’s up from 485 patients the week before.

In addition to that, around 120 Covid patients were in intensive care on Monday, a figure which is at its highest level since June.

According to the latest available data from December 30th, Sweden has recorded 1,314,784 Covid cases during the pandemic. Sweden updates its official data Tuesday-Friday, so the Public Health Agency is expected to present updated figures today.

Swedish vocabulary: today – i dag

Teachers’ union: Mass test schoolchildren in Sweden

One of the teachers’ unions, Lärarförbundet, has called on Sweden to follow in the footsteps of Norway, which is now handing out rapid Covid tests to all schoolchildren. Schools are set to open in Sweden next week after the Christmas break.

“It would be welcomed if we too had a Public Health Agency which says it is better to test your children one time too many than one time to little,” union chief Johanna Jaara told Swedish public broadcaster SVT’s news programme Aktuellt on Monday.

Schools in Sweden are instead told to take preventive measures such as spending time outdoors, emphasising good hand hygiene, informing students and parents that students should stay at home if they develop symptoms of Covid, and avoiding crowding.

Swedish vocabulary: schoolchildren – skolbarn

Cracks appear in school building in Swedish mining town

Several buildings in Sweden’s northernmost city, Kiruna, have been damaged by cracks caused by mining activity. High school Hjalmar Lundbohmsskolan is the latest to receive cracks to its walls, pillars and floors, reports SVT Norrbotten.

Kiruna is in the process of being relocated eastwards so that mining company LKAB – the region’s major employer – can continue expanding underground. The company has therefore bought the school, and will according to the contract with the council continue operating it until a new school is ready for its around 800 students by autumn 2023.

“I am very concerned,” mayor Gunnar Selberg told SVT about the cracks.

Swedish vocabulary: a mine – en gruva

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

US approves Sweden's Nato application, increased interest in the army, and Volvo plans new battery plant. Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

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

Swedish army sees increased interest among the young

A new report from Ungdomsbarometern shows that more and more young people believe Swedish defence should receive more funding, SVT reports.

In addition to this, the Swedish Armed Forces has reported an increase in interest among young people in carrying out military service.

“When I was eighteen, I was a bit scared of the military,” 22-year-old Johannes Blom, who is carrying out military service at Livgardets Regement in northern Stockholm, told SVT.

“But it’s grown on me in recent years.”

Prior to the war in Ukraine, interest in carrying out military service decreased among the young, according to the Swedish Armed Forces. The reason is unclear, but it is clear that the downward trend was broken at the end of February.

One month later, in March, the amount of people interested in carrying out basic military training and military service had almost doubled, from 16 percent in February to 28 percent in March, according to figures from the Swedish Armed Forces.

Swedish vocabulary: värnplikt – military service

US approves Sweden’s Nato application – seven countries remain

The US Senate approved Sweden and Finland’s Nato applications with 95 votes to 1.

“It’s very satisfying. It’s only very positive for Sweden and shows confidence in both Sweden and Finland,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde told TT newswire.

After a debate lasting over three hours, senators voted in favour of ratifying Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the Nato defence alliance. The message arrived early on Thursday morning, Swedish time.

“It’s the largest and most important country in Nato, so of course it is important,” Linde said. “Now there are only seven countries left which have not ratified, it’s never gone so fast.”

The decision was also welcomed by Sweden’s Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, who said on Twitter that the “swift vote in favour of our countries joining the alliance is greatly appreciated.”

Swedish vocabulary: godkänna – approve

Volvo plans new electric battery plant in Sweden

Swedish lorry and heavy equipment maker Volvo Group said on Wednesday it planned to open a new battery factory in Sweden to manufacture battery cells for heavy-duty vehicles and machines.

“There is a strong demand from our customers already today, and by 2030, it is our ambition that at least 35 percent of the products we sell are electric”, Volvo Group chief executive Martin Lundstedt said in a statement.

“This ramp-up will require large volumes of high-performing batteries, produced using fossil free energy and it is a logical next step for us to include battery production in our future industrial footprint”, he added.

The project, which is subject to approvals from relevant authorities, calls for the construction of a plant in Mariestad in southern Sweden, near Volvo’s main powertrain plant.

The site was chosen in order to “benefit from the region’s existing industrial and logistics infrastructure” and its access to Sweden’s “rich supply of fossil free energy”, the company said.

Volvo Group is a wholly-Swedish company that split in 1999 from automobile maker Volvo Cars, which is now owned by Chinese group Geely.

Swedish vocabulary: batterifabrik – battery factory