Sweden Targets New Law Enabling Lockdowns From Early January

Sweden’s government hopes to have the power to impose lockdowns from Jan. 10, if a bill submitted on Monday passes parliament.

The temporary laws, if enacted, will give authorities the legal clout to shut down businesses and fine those infringing the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus, according to the Minister of Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren.

Speaking at a press conference in Stockholm on Monday, Hallengren said that the aim of the laws is “to curb the spread of infection, but without imposing unnecessary restrictions on activities that can be carried out without risk.”

The minister also cautioned that there will be more mandatory measures and closures “if what we are doing isn’t enough.”

Sweden has so far stopped short of a full lockdown partly because it lacked the legal framework to do more. Amid a sharp rise in virus cases and a death rate many times higher than its Nordic neighbors, the country earlier this month imposed its toughest restrictions yet, including face masks on public transport during rush hour.

If passed, the new legislation will be in effect through to the end of September.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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