Swedish cites finally face coronavirus lockdowns… but authorities say they will be VOLUNTARY with ‘strong recommendations’ to stop going to bars and doing non-essential activities
- Parts of Sweden hardest-hit by Covid could face localised, voluntary lockdowns
- Stockholm, as well as Uppsala and Jamtland, recorded rising infection rates
- Marks a change for the country which previously avoided lockdown measures
Parts of Sweden hardest-hit by the coronavirus are facing localised voluntary lockdowns.
Authorities are drawing up guidelines which include advising Swedes not to go to bars, restaurants and non-essential shops.
It marks a shift for the country which previously decided not to put its citizens into lockdown but instead had a ‘lighter’ approach to tackling the pandemic.
Coronavirus cases have been gradually increasing since the start of September, dashing Sweden’s hopes for immunity.
Last week, a seven-day average of 65 per million people per day was reported to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on Friday. This is compared to 71, 40 and 25 cases per million in Denmark, Finland and Norway.
Parts of Sweden hardest-hit by the coronavirus are facing localised voluntary lockdowns. Above, people enjoy the weather on a floating bar in Stockholm
Covid-19 hotspots including capital city Stockholm, Uppsala, Orebro and Jamtland could be advised to avoid physical contact with anyone outside their household, as well as travel and visiting those in more vulnerable categories.
Compliance will be voluntary, with the Swedish government not handing out fines or prison sentences for those who violate the rules.
Jamtland, in central Sweden, last week recorded 95 new cases for every 100,000 inhabitants.
Uppsala, a university city located 35 miles north of the capital, recorded 75 new infections for every 100,000 residents – the third highest in the country.
Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has called on citizens to avoid socialising after work.
‘In the first instance we always begin by trying to help people to better understand the restrictions we already have in place,’ he told public broadcaster STV.
‘If they don’t seem to have an effect… then of course we need to consider other ways to constrain these opportunities for transmission.’
Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, pictured, has called on citizens to avoid socialising after work
Compliance will be voluntary, with the Swedish government not handing out fines or prison sentences for those who violate the rules. Above, people walk in Stockholm amid the Covid-19 pandemic
Bitte Brastad, chief legal officer at the agency, said the new measures were ‘something in between regulations and recommendations’ and Dr Nojd confimed further measures would be imposed if contact tracing shows links between infections and certain areas.
The Scandinavian country was a talking point during the pandemic for its resistance to imposing a national lockdown like its European neighbours.
Much of Europe has introduced measures such as shutting or ordering early closing of bars, but now the surging infection rates are also testing the resolve of governments to keep schools and non-COVID medical care running.