Sweden May Tighten Covid Policy to Target Local Outbreaks

Sweden May Tighten Covid Policy to Target Local Outbreaks

September 1, 2020

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Sweden is ready to impose stricter rules on local communities in the event of sudden Covid-19 outbreaks, but said it remains committed to its broader national strategy of limited restrictions on movement.

“To deal with the local outbreaks that we fear may happen, regional authorities could issue stricter recommendations if needed,” Johan Carlson, the director-general of Sweden’s Public Health Agency, said on Tuesday.

Sweden opted for a softer lockdown than most other countries to fight the pandemic, which coincided with a higher death rate early on during the crisis. But there are now signs the virus is slowly being brought under control in Sweden, as the number of daily new infections declines.

Social Minister Lena Hallengren said the pandemic is “a crisis that we will live with for a long time,” at a press conference in Stockholm on Tuesday. The focus is to drive down infection rates and to “beat down any new outbreaks.”

Guidelines to tackle local outbreaks might include stricter work-from-home instructions and a return to online education for older school kids, Carlson said. People may also be asked to avoid public transport, while limits on how many people are allowed to gather in one place could be tightened.

The agency has yet to provide clear guidance on face masks, and Sweden continues to be an outlier in its decision not to recommend their use.

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