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

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 Friday
Tax may be increased on alcohol and tobacco products in 2023 and 2024, if a government proposal goes ahead. Photo: Ari Luostarinen/SvD/TT

New rules for quarantining announced

Changes to rules for those quarantining due to infection with Covid-19, as well as those quarantining as household contacts of infected individuals were announced yesterday. Under the new rules, the following groups of symptom-free household contacts are no longer required to stay home from school or work if a member of their household tests positive:

  • those who have received a booster vaccination
  • those who have been infected with Covid-19 within the last three months
  • some key workers, providing that other measures to avoid infection are taken

Those who do not fall into these groups must quarantine for five days, starting from the day when the person in their household first started showing symptoms of Covid-19. This was previously seven days.

For those who are infected with the virus, quarantine has also been shortened to five days, as long as the person in question has been fever free and feeling well for at least the last 48 hours. This also applies to those who have not been able to get tested.

Here is The Local’s rundown of the new rules.

Swedish vocabulary: påfyllnadsdos – booster vaccination

Teachers at Internationella Engelska Skolan speak out to The Local

Internationella Engelska Skolan (International English School – IES), the free school chain that made its founder nearly a billion kronor, pays its qualified foreign teachers low wages and gives them duties they have not trained for, several teachers who work for the chain have told The Local.

Six foreign teachers who had worked at or were still working for schools run by IES spoke to The Local about significant discrepancies in salaries between Swedish teachers with local qualifications and the foreign teachers who form a large proportion of the company’s staff.

They also said that even as new graduates, they were asked to teach classes of as many as 32 pupils single-handed, and were also asked to teach subjects and age groups they had not been trained for. Two said they had been given multiple administrative jobs without being given extra time to do them.

Here’s the full article.

Swedish vocabulary: löneskillnaden – discrepancies in salaries

Proposed tax increase on alcohol and tobacco

According to a proposal by the government, tax on alcohol and tobacco products may be increased over the next two years, starting on January 1st 2023.

Tax on tobacco products such as cigarettes and snus would be increased by 3 percent on January 1st 2023 on top of price increases due to changes in the consumer price index (CPI), with a further 1 percent price increase on January 1st 2024, if the proposal is approved.

A tax increase is also proposed for beer, wine, “other yeasted drinks than beer or wine” as well as mellanklassprodukter – drinks such as madeira, sherry or port. If approved, there would be a 5 percent increase on tax for these products from January 1st 2023, with another 7.6 percent increase occuring on January 1st 2024.

Spirits are also included in the proposal, with a 1 percent increase on January 1st 2023 and another 1 percent increase on January 1st 2024.

Swedish vocabulary: jästa drycker – yeasted drinks

Government’s electricity rebate clarified

The government’s planned electricity rebate, announced earlier this month, was clarified in a press conference on Thursday. The rebate – if passed by parliament – would compensate those using at least than 700 kWh per month in December, January or February, with the maximum of 2,000 kronor a month given to those using at least 2,000 kWh.

As compensation is based on usage rather than price of energy bills, those living in areas with cheaper electricity – such as Norrland – may even end up paying less for December 2021 than they did in December 2020, TT reports.

In the two most northerly electricity price areas, the bill for a detached house using 2,000 kWh in December 2021 came out to around 3,825 kronor. In 2020, this was 2,575 kronor, meaning that – with a rebate of 2,000 kronor – their bill for December 2021 would come to 1,825 kronor.

In the south of Sweden – where electricity is more expensive – a bill using 2,000 kWh cost 7,025 kronor in December 2021, and just 3,050 kronor in December 2020, meaning that – even with the rebate – their bill for December 2021 will be more expensive than the year before.

Interested in how much you may be able to get? Here’s The Local’s guide.

Swedish vocabulary: elprisstödet – electricity rebate

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For members


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

Biden backs Sweden in Nato, first case of monkeypox and labour market heating up. Here's Friday's news.

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

Sweden registers first confirmed case of monkeypox

One person in Sweden has a confirmed case of monkeypox, health authorities said on Thursday following similar cases in Europe and North America.

The rare disease usually manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash on the hands and face.

“One person in the Stockholm region has been confirmed to be infected with monkey pox,” Sweden’s Public Health Agency said in a statement.

The infected person “is not seriously ill, but has been given care,” according to the agency.

“We still don’t know where the person was infected. An investigation is currently underway,” Klara Sonden, an infectious disease doctor and investigator at the agency, said in a statement.

The health authority is now “investigating with the regional infection control centres whether there are more cases in Sweden,” it said.

On Wednesday, Spain, Portugal, Canada and the United States all reported having cases of confirmed or suspected monkeypox.

Authorities have generally been reassuring, with Spanish and Portuguese officials stressing that the disease is not very contagious between humans.

Swedish vocabulary: apkoppor – monkeypox

Biden gives ‘full, total, complete backing’ for Swedish Nato bid

US President Joe Biden on Thursday strongly backed Finland and Sweden’s bid to join Nato in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the Nordic nations’ leaders promised to address concerns raised by Turkey.

With the red-carpet pomp of a White House visit, Biden welcomed Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto days after they formally announced their Nato aspirations and said he was submitting their applications to the US Congress, where there is bipartisan support for ratification.

“The bottom line is simple. Quite straightforward: Finland and Sweden make Nato stronger,” Biden said, offering the “full, total, complete backing of the United States of America.”

“Sweden and Finland have strong democratic institutions, strong militaries and strong and transparent economies, and a strong moral sense of what is right,” Biden said with the two leaders at his side in the White House Rose Garden.

“They meet every Nato requirement, and then some,” Biden told assembled reporters without taking any questions.

Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate who frequently fights Biden’s agenda, said he would seek quick action on the bids by Sweden and Finland. He noted that Finland already commits two percent of its GDP to defence and that Sweden “is on pace to reach that target very soon” — a threshold backed by Nato and long pushed by Washington.

“These nations are setting an example which current treaty allies would do well to follow,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “So I’ll be proud to continue amplifying their case for accession however I can.”

Swedish vocabulary: backar – to back

Labour market set to heat up over summer

According to new figures, this summer’s job market looks to be heating up.

Employers’ demand for staff has reached the highest summer levels ever, according to staffing company Manpowers’ quarterly measurements which started the measurements 19 years ago.

The employment index is standing at +25 before the third quarter and is based on 765 interviews with Swedish employers. Although lower than last quarter’s figure of +37, this is still the highest reported figure for a summer period.

The index shows the amount of employers planning to hire over the summer, minus those who are not.

“The high demand for staff is continuing despite high inflation and war close by,” Mikael Hansson, the staffing company’s Swedish boss wrote in a press statement.

The measurement was carried out between April 1st-29th, which means that factors such as the war in Ukraine and increased inflation are included in the figures, Manpower states.

All Swedish regions gave positive prognoses in all branches, but central Sweden showed a sharp decrease in the employment prognosis compared to the previous quarter. Stockholm and the Uppsala region and southern Sweden reported the strongest figures.

Swedish vocabulary: sysselsättning – employment