Half of Stockholm trains cancelled on Saturday due to staff illness

Half of all trains in, to and via Stockholm have been cancelled between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning due to staff illness.

Half of Stockholm trains cancelled on Saturday due to staff illness
File photo of the Stockholm City commuter train station. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The Swedish Transport Administration said that the decision would affect railway traffic in the capital between Saturday 2pm and Sunday 4am.

Its press officer Bengt Olsson said they had “never before had to cancel this many departures because of staff shortages due to illness, despite two years of a pandemic”.

The cancellations will affect long-distance trains as well as regional trains, commuter trains and freight trains. The mainly concern trains in Stockholm, but could also affect departures from other places in Sweden on their way to or through the city.

The Transport Administration explained the reason behind the decision as not being able to operate train traffic at full capacity and wanting to avoid leaving trains standing still.

You can keep up to date with train departures on the Transport Administration’s website or via each operator, for example SJ for long-distance trains or SL for commuter trains.

Record-high infection rates due to the ongoing Omicron outbreak in Sweden have caused staff shortages in many sectors, including hospitals and schools. This is because of people being infected themselves, or having to quarantine as a close-contact case.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”