Sweden Readies Tougher Lockdown Rules Amid Third-Wave Fears

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The Swedish government fleshed out tougher new measures under pandemic laws to help the country cope with a potential resurgence in Covid-19 cases.

“There is a significant risk of a third wave of infection,” Sweden’s minister for health and social affairs Lena Hallengren told reporters on Wednesday. Amid “a concerning” increase in cases over the past week, the government is proposing five new measures making it easier to “shut down parts of Swedish society,” she said.

The proposals would let the government close shopping centers, gyms and restaurants, as well as impose new restrictions on theme parks, zoos and museums. There will be a new system to control social gatherings and public events, according to the minister. Anyone in violation of the ban could be fined 2,000 kronor ($240), she said.

Worries over the more contagious variants of the virus have already prompted Sweden to extend an evening ban on alcohol sales and tighten its border controls. The nation’s death rate from Covid currently stands at 122 per 100,000, which is three times higher than in neighboring Denmark and 11 times higher than in Norway.

Hallengren also said municipalities should be given more powers to stop the risk of overcrowding in certain areas.

The proposals are now being submitted for consultation with a deadline of Feb. 26.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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