Sweden tightens Covid restrictions as Omicron clouds outlook

Govt tightens social distancing rules and asks employees to work from home



Reuters
Reuters

By Reuters

Published: Tue 21 Dec 2021, 6:12 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Dec 2021, 6:24 PM

Sweden will urge all employees to work from home if possible and impose tighter rules for social distancing, the government said on Tuesday, as it ratchets up restrictions aimed at fighting a surge in new infections of the Covid-19 virus.

The number of new virus cases in Sweden, which sparked international attention last year for its rejection of hard lockdowns, have shot up in recent weeks after a calm autumn when most restrictions were phased out.

ALSO READ:

While hospitalizations and the number of patients requiring intensive care are still among the lowest per capita in Europe, these have also begun rising.

“We must now take joint responsibility and we need adapt to the new reality,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told a news conference.

“I understand that many are tired of this - so am I - but we now have a new virus variant, which means we are in a new situation.”

Meanwhile, fresh projections from the Public Health Agency of how the pandemic will develop showed the pace of new infections continuing to increase in the coming weeks and peaking in January.

The latest restrictions - the second stage of the government’s plans - also included a limit of 50 people at private gatherings and the need for a vaccination pass for public events where there are more than 500 people.

The new rules also will require seated-only service at bars and restaurants as well as seated-only participants at larger public events, implying venues such as night clubs may need to close, at least in part.

Earlier this month, the government reintroduced some limited measures, such as the use of masks on public transport, amid concerns about rising infections and worries about the new Omicron variant.

It outlined a three-tier road map for additional measures if the situation deteriorated further with the latest measures marking the second step.


More news from coronavirus