By Tony Winterburn • 17 February 2021 • 21:14
Sweden Warns Of More Restrictions And Gears Up To Close Restaurants & Gyms. image: Swedish Media
Sweden Warns Of ‘Vastly Expanding’ Restrictions And Gears Up To Close Restaurants & Gyms.
The Swedish government was previously reluctant to impose tough Covid-19 restrictions but has now proposed vastly expanding its lockdown powers, as the country braces for a third wave of infections.
“It could become necessary to close down parts of Swedish society,” Health Minister Lena Hallengren said at a press briefing, adding that there is “a tangible risk of a third wave of infection. A third wave is underway in Europe. We have to be vigilant,” she said.
The statement came a day after Karin Tegmark Wisell, a senior official at the nation’s Public Health Agency, warned of a “very high number” of Covid-19 cases in Sweden. More than 19,600 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the latest weekly report, published by the Swedish government on February 12.
The government already has powers to close down shopping malls. Officials now want to be able to close down all retailers, restaurants, gyms, hair salons, and swimming pools, and restrict the operations of amusement parks, zoos, museums, and art galleries. Under the plan, local authorities would be given powers to limit activities in public parks and bathhouses.
All of these proposals will be presented for further consultations by February 26, the government said in the statement. The new rules will likely come into effect on March 11, according to local media. Hallengren said that an overall assessment of the situation is needed before any lockdown measures can be enacted.
“A plateau and a slight increase [in Covid-19 cases] are not enough for a lockdown. We will make it clear when it becomes relevant,” she said.
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