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

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 Wednesday
A mobile Covid vaccination unit in Malmö. Swedish radio reports that Sweden may be about to cut the interval between the second and third dose. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Schools close as snowstorm set to batter northern Sweden

Sweden’s weather agency SMHI issued an orange alert for the Lapland mountains on Wednesday and Thursday, where harsh winds and heavy snowfall are expected. A yellow alert (the least serious on a scale of three) meanwhile warns of slippery roads in the Ångermanland region and large parts of Västerbotten, Norrbotten and Jämtland.

Schools in Krokom municipality will close on Wednesday and Thursday, and schools in Åre will close for the rest of the week, for all but children of parents in essential jobs.

Swedish vocabulary: bad weather – oväder

Concern as Covid cases soar in Sweden

Sweden’s big city regions – Stockholm, Västra Götaland and Skåne – last week all reported the highest number of new Covid cases in one week during the pandemic.

Swedish news agency TT reports that Västra Götaland, home to the city of Gothenburg, confirmed 27,044 new cases (up from 7,886 confirmed cases the week before); Skåne, home to cities such as Malmö, Lund and Helsingborg, confirmed 17,268 new cases (up by 55 percent) and the capital region Stockholm confirmed 36,493 new cases – a 90 percent increase on the week before.

Stockholm’s infectious disease doctor said in a statement that more than 40 percent of tests in the region are currently coming back positive, with Omicron dominating.

Although some of the increase could be attributed to limited testing over the holidays, doctors agree that Sweden is seeing a rapid increase in the spread of infection. “We haven’t previously been close to this number of confirmed infections per week,” said Johan Bratt, Stockholm’s chief physician, adding that the region is also seeing a “worryingly large increase of the number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital”.

Swedish vocabulary: worrying(ly) – oroväckande

How Sweden’s Covid rules change today

A range of new Covid measures come into force in Sweden today. The new measures – which include both restrictions and recommendations – are expected to be in place until mid-February, but the Public Health Agency will review them every two weeks.

The new rules include, for example, bars and restaurants being forced to close by 11pm, and all adults being urged to limit their number of “close contacts” in indoor settings.

Here’s a full list of the new measures (in English).

Swedish vocabulary: a rule – en regel

Is Sweden about to shorten booster waiting period to five months?

Swedish public radio broadcaster Sverige Radio’s news programme Ekot reports that the Public Health Agency is about to tell regions to shorten the time period between the second and third dose of the Covid vaccine from six to five months.

The Public Health Agency did not confirm the news when approached by Ekot, but the vaccine coordinator in Västerbotten told local radio station P4 Västerbotten that they’ve been told that the agency will issue new guidelines for the regions on Thursday.

Swedish regions are responsible for healthcare and are in principle able to set their own vaccination schedule, but so far only Kalmar has gone it alone and shortened the interval to five months for all adults. In most regions only people aged over 65 can get their booster after five months, while others have to wait six months.

Swedish vocabulary: responsible – ansvariga

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

ADHD tests for immigrant kids, Turk deported, train problems, and ISA tax proposal, find out what's going on in Sweden with The Local's roundup

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

Moderates propose ADHD tests for all kids in vulnerable areas

The Moderate Party in Stockholm wants to rapid test all children in “vulnerable areas” for ADHD so that more can get diagnosed and given medication. 

The party stresses that the tests would be voluntary and would be carried out at primary care centres from the age of five onwards. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background are less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden, and that there is a link between childhood ADHD and violent crime later in life. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” said the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

Sweden extradites first Turk since striking Nato deal

Sweden’s government said on Thursday that it would hand over a Turkish citizen convicted of credit card fraud to Ankara, the first known extradition since Sweden struck a deal with Turkey promising to deal with extraditions “expeditiously and thoroughly”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to block both Sweden and Finland from NATO membership unless they meet several demands, including the extradition of people Ankara considers “terrorists”.

Erdogan accuses the two countries of being havens for Kurdish militants, specifically highlighting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The man facing extradition was identified in Swedish court documents as Okan Kale, and was convicted in Turkey of credit card fraud in 2013 and 2016.

Swedish vocab: att utlämna – to deport 

Train problems to continue into autumn 

The Swedish Transport Administration is still facing problems with its new time table system, which, in combination with track work, will mean continuing train delays into the autumn,” Sweden’s state broadcaster SR has reported. 

The administration is supposed to draw up a plan on how trains should travel when there is track work 18 weeks in advance, but it is currently only able to do so two to four weeks in advance, which is making it difficult for train companies to sell train tickets. 

“This is something we are of course working intensively to improve,” Mikael Eriksson, the agency’s marketing chief, said, adding that most trains were not impacted by the track work, and that the planning system should be working properly by the end of the year. 

Swedish vocab: framförhållning – long-term planning 

Centre Party wants to remove tax from savings accounts

Sweden’s Centre Party has proposed scrapping tax on the first 30,000 kronor held by people in Sweden in Individual Savings Accounts, in order to encourage saving among Swedes, 

“A lot of people have only a small amount of extra money,” she says. “It would be simple to start saving and we want to especially benefit small savers, those who save a few hundred kronor every month for their pension, or a first apartment, or to build up a buffer for the future.” 

Swedish vocab: en buffert – a buffer