Sweden prepares for lockdown due to fears of a third pandemic wave

Stefan LöfvenPhoto: Erik Simander / TT / NTB

Swedish authorities are worried about the spread of infection. The government is now preparing a lockdown that would affect shopping centers and fitness centers.

Minister of Social Affairs Lena Hallengren and Minister of Culture and Sports Amanda Lind presented the new proposals at an urgent press conference in Stockholm on Wednesday.

“We view the development with concern. It is uncertain how the situation will develop, and there is a risk of a third wave,” Hallengren said.

The bills include opportunities to close down, among other things, shopping centers, restaurants, fitness centers, and sports facilities. The measures in the bills would apply from March 11.

Open to fine-tune events

The authorities also want a new system that will make it easier to regulate public events. The idea is that the restrictions must be even more pointed and that the number limitation must be based more on the risk of spreading the infection.

“It makes it possible for organizers to make gatherings by making adjustments. Instead of a fixed maximum limit for everyone, it will be possible to receive audiences if you organize the seats or move the event outdoors,” Lind said.

When the pandemic came about a year ago, a limit of 500 participants was set for events. That was later adjusted to 50, and eventually down to 8. The Public Health Authority will now present its input to new maximum limits.

Reaching out to museums

 Many museums have been closed for a period in Sweden. But the government hopes that more can open now with the new measures.

The General Secretary of Sweden’s museums, Jeanette Gustafsdotter, welcomed the proposals.

“Finally, a more accurate regulation. The museums are some of the safest places in terms of infection, with large premises and plenty of time for cleaning,” she said.

The municipalities will also have the opportunity to introduce a residence ban in places where congestion may occur. People who break the bans will risk fines of just over 2,000 kroner. The bills are now being sent for consultation.

No further support

Industries and companies that may be affected by the new measures will not receive further support than what already exists, Hallgren explained.

“It is clear that we constantly follow developments and do everything we can to compensate,” she said.

The spread of infection is still high in Sweden. The virus mutations also involve increased risk. 

The country has shut down society to a lesser extent than other countries but has recently tightened infection control measures. 

The authorities have stated that the country could be hit by a third wave of coronavirus infection on several occasions recently. 

Earlier this month, the authorities extended the home office guidelines until the summer.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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