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TODAY IN SWEDEN

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
US President Joe Biden, Sweden's prime minister Magdalena Andersson and Finland's president Sauli Niinistö in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

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

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TODAY IN SWEDEN

Today in Sweden: A round up of the latest news on Friday

The rising cost of ice cream, coronavirus warnings and the hottest Midsummer in 50 years. Here's Sweden's news on Friday.

Today in Sweden: A round up of the latest news on Friday

Rising cost of ice cream

As you reach for something cool this Midsummer, you may notice that the price of ice cream has increased in Sweden.

According to Matpriskollen, their best-selling Magnum almonds are 13 percent more expensive this year and the price of Piggelin ice creams has risen by 24 percent.

The rising cost of energy and raw materials has made it more expensive for ice cream manufacturers to run their factories. 

“Many raw materials have risen quite sharply in price, everything from milk to plastic packaging”, Stefan Carlsson, CEO of the manufacturer Sia Glass said.

And if you’re wondering what happened to the ice cream Twister Spirello; it is currently unavailable in Sweden. The ice cream is manufactured in Russia, where GB Glace no longer import and export from, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We are actively working to find alternative manufacturing opportunities,” Sandhya Forselius, communications manager at Unilever, which owns GB Glace, wrote in an email to newswire TT.

Warnings over coronavirus spreading during Midsummer festivities as cases rise

A doctor in the Blekinge region has warned people to be cautious about joining in Midsummer parties if they have any Covid symptoms, as cases have doubled over the last four weeks.

“Think ahead this Midsummer, especially if you are going to celebrate with elderly and fragile people. Refrain if you feel the slightest cold,” infection control doctor Bengt Wittesjö said in a press release.

In the Blekinge region, the number of positive Covid cases has increased from six percent in week 21, to 44 percent in week 25 and there are now more people in hospital with Covid.

At the hospitals in Blekinge, protection measures such as masks have been reintroduced.

‘Hottest in 50 years’: Swedish Midsummer set to be a scorcher

This Midsummer could be Sweden’s warmest since 1970, weather forecasters say, with temperatures of up to 30 degrees expected for southern Sweden and between 20-25 degrees expected further north.

“It could potentially be the hottest Midsummer’s Eve in 50 years,” SVT’s meteorologist Tora Tomasdottir told the public broadcaster.

In 1970, temperatures of 34.4 degrees were measured in Köping on Midsummer.

“It’s not going to be that hot this year, but we could reach over the 31 degrees measured in Målilla six years ago,” she further told SVT.

“For those planning on partying all night long, you maybe don’t need to take that many extra layers with you, as it will be warm during the evening, too,” Tomasdottir told SVT.

The Swedish Public Health Agency is also warning people to take care in the heat by drinking plenty of fluids and trying to keep cool.

“In general, we in Sweden have a bad idea of ​​how dangerous the heat can be. It can be dangerous for everyone, not just for risk groups”, Elin Andersson, researcher in environmental health at the Swedish Public Health Agency, said.

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