Sweden Corona

18 more people have died of coronavirus in the Stockholm region, taking the total number of deaths related to the virus in Stockholm up to 37 as of Wednesday evening.

And the Swedish capital’s health and hospitals director Björn Eriksson describes the situation as “quite dramatic now”.

The number of over 70s confirmed to have the virus is increasing, and with intensive care already stretched, Eriksson has made a plea to trained healthcare professionals as the city seeks to further increase its treatment capacity.

A tram in Gothenburg.
Gothenburg will see fewer trams running from Thursday. Credit: Magnus Hjalmarson

Sweden is attempting to balance controlling the Coronavirus pandemic with keeping its economy moving, a professor in infectious diseases told Radio Sweden, but authorities have to be flexible and ready to adapt.

Karolinska Institute’s Anders Björkman says Sweden needs to continuously track the evolution of the epidemic and be prepared to adapt its policies accordingly.

But the country’s level of testing among healthcare professionals is “outrageous”, he argues, adding that it is also time to start testing for antibodies among the population.

Sweden is so far sticking to its approach, with politicians referring to recommendations by the Public Health Agency.

We spoke to Åsa Knaggård, who is a political scientist at Lund University. She studies the relationship between science and politics and how leaders make policy based on uncertain situations.

And she says there are several reasons why Sweden is likely choosing the path it has, ranging from societal trust to the independence of the state agencies.

Västtrafik, Gothenburg’s local public transport company, has announced that from tomorrow, Thursday, they are cutting the number of trams that will run during peak hours due to a staff shortage.

At the beginning of this week Stockholm’s local transport authority made a similar decision, cutting the number of buses running in the city.

The result was a number of very crowded buses which led to an outcry of protest from passengers and even some sharp criticism from the Public Health Agency, whose director general Johan Carlsson said that crowded public transport in light of the virus situation was unreasonable.

Swede Foreign Ministry deciding to recall personnel from areas that are at Coronavirus risk around the world.

According to a list obtained by Swedish media , the recall affects some 21 countries, many of them in Africa but also including Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

A spokesperson for the ministry said that the decision is based on the availability of adequate health care in the countries, the possibility of travel restrictions being introduced at short notice and the fact that the personnel involved and their families could belong to groups at particular risk.

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