Sweden starts to reopen: More people can go to cinemas, theaters, and football matches

Stockholm - SwedenPhoto: ALI LORESTANI / TT / NTB

On Tuesday, Sweden takes the first step towards reopening. Now, more people can go to cinemas, theaters and football matches.

In addition, indoor concerts can now have an audience of up to 50 people, compared to the previous limit of eight. Football matches may have a maximum of 500 spectators, and restaurants may be open until 10:30 PM with a maximum of four people per table.

Swedish children will be allowed to go to summer camp and participate in smaller competitions indoors and outdoors.

The government’s plan consists of five steps. If the infection drops, the next step can be taken on July 1. Then, for example, up to 3,000 seated spectators will be allowed at football matches. 

In addition, theaters will be able to accommodate 300 people, and the restaurants’ outdoor cafes can operate as they did last summer. The opening hours of restaurants will be further extended, and the requirement for social distance at outdoor restaurants will be removed.

Fall changes

According to the plan, from mid-July, restrictions on the number of people in shops, gyms, hairdressers, and swimming pools could be lifted. 

According to the plan, the requirement for a face mask on public transport will also be abolished if the spread of infection does not pick up speed again. However, other infection control measures may be retained.

The government expects that almost all measures will be phased out this autumn. According to the government, nine different types of restrictions and seven different types of recommendations will be phased out in the five steps of the plan.

At the same time, they expect a high level of preparedness for, among other things, mass testing, infection tracing, and continued vaccination against the coronavirus this autumn. The goal is for all adults in Sweden to be offered vaccines by September.

The infection must go down

Sweden currently has an infection rate of 306 infected per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.

To carry out steps two and three of the plan, the spread of infection must be reduced to what the government calls “level two spread of infection.”

That means that the number of cases of infection per 100,000 inhabitants is under 200 in the last 14 days, that the number of corona patients in hospitals is under 300, and that more than 50% of the adult population has received their first vaccine dose.

Not all of these requirements need to be met at the same time, but the government in Sweden says they will make an overall assessment along the way.

So far, 14,451 people have died in connection with the pandemic in Sweden, and a total of 1,068,473 cases of infection have been registered, figures from the Swedish Public Health Agency show.

Changed strategy

Sweden is hard hit by the pandemic and has over ten times as many deaths per capita as Norway.

Sweden’s handling of the corona crisis was heavily criticized at the beginning of the pandemic. 

In July last year, the Swedish Public Health Agency presented three scenarios for how the corona situation would develop over the autumn. 

At the time, the result was worse than the worst state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell envisioned. Shortly afterward, the country closed down.

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

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