Swedish health minister 'surprised' by summer rise in Covid patients

TT/The Local
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Swedish health minister 'surprised' by summer rise in Covid patients
Sweden's health minister Lena Hallengren announces a new survey of Covid cases by the National Board of Health and Welfare. Photo: Magnus Andersson/TT

Sweden's health minister, Lena Hallengren, has said it is "surprising" that the number of Covid-19 cases has started rising rapidly in the middle of the summer.


The number of new Covid-19 cases being registered has risen by some 30 percent over the last few weeks, several regions are reporting a rise in the number of Covid-19 patients being treated, and 17 out of 21 regions have brought back a requirement for staff and patients to wear face masks at their facilities. 

"What is so surprising is that the growth is coming in the middle of summer," Lena Hallengren, Sweden's health minister, told the country's TT newswire. 


The interview came as Hallengren announced an inquiry into how Sweden's Covid-19 vaccination program had been planned and carried out, appointing Anders Jonsson, an MP for the Centre Party to head the investigation. Read the press release here

The unseasonal rise in cases is due to the new BA5 variant of Omicron, which is more infectious than other variants. 

But Hallengren said that there was no reason for people in Sweden to be alarmed, and that the government currently had no plans to bring back any restrictions to lower the number of cases. 

"We have to remember that we have a high level of vaccination cover which protects us from the most serious illness," she said. 

READ ALSO: How much should we be concerned about rising Covid-19 rates in Sweden?

Some 85 percent of people in Sweden have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, and over 65 percent have had three doses. Among the elder and those in risk groups, 70 percent of people have had four doses. 

Today testing is limited to patients and personnel within the healthcare system, with the ordinary public just advised to stay home if they have symptoms which might be Covid-19. 

"We are continuing to follow the development and are ready to take further measures should they be needed," Hallengren said. 



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