Sweden Extends Alcohol Ban as Decline in Covid-19 Cases Stalls

Sweden has extended an evening ban on alcohol sales, as the spread of the coronavirus remains high and the country sees an increasing number of Covid-19 cases caused by the more contagious virus variant.

Bars won’t be allowed to sell alcohol after 8 p.m. until the end of February, and from March 1 until April 11, alcohol sales will be banned after 10 p.m., the government said in a statement. The decision, taken on Friday, comes amid growing concern about a third wave of transmission in the Nordic country, where the cases were decreasing rapidly until about two weeks ago. Since then, the decline has stalled and health agencies are reporting an increasing prevalence of the B117 variant believed to be more contagious.

The variant that was first reported by the U.K. represented between 9% and 20% of all cases in four regions studied by the country’s Public Health Agency last week. It has also played a role in a local outbreak in the northern Vasterbotten region, where a number of infections have been found at the battery-cell maker Northvolt’s construction site in the town of Skelleftea.

Sweden Extends Alcohol Ban as Decline in Covid-19 Cases Stalls

“Transmission remains at a high level and Sweden is still in an extraordinary situation,” the government said in its statement. “If the situation deteriorates, or doesn’t improve, the rule on a temporary alcohol ban may be extended further.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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