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The state nose best: Swedish town dumps ton of chicken manure to stop crowds gathering for festival

The state nose best: Swedish town dumps ton of chicken manure to stop crowds gathering for festival
The Swedish town of Lund has taken the drastic step of dumping a ton of chicken manure in its central park in a bid to stink out an annual festival that officials fear could spark a massive outbreak of Covid-19.

Sweden has gained attention across the world for its softer approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic, but the university town in the south of the country is taking no such chances.

Thursday is Walpurgis Night, an event which would usually see thousands of revelers gather in the town to celebrate the traditional northern European festival that heralds the arrival of better weather.

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Authorities feared the feast would be a boon to the novel coronavirus so they decided to smear the park, which is in the middle of the town, with chicken droppings to keep people away.

“Lund could very well become an epicentre for the spread of the coronavirus on the last night in April, I think it was a good initiative,” Gustav Lundblad, from the local council’s environment committee, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

Mayor Philip Sandberg said that Walpurgis Night would usually see 30,000 people gather in the town and officials there fear young people, especially students, will still want to enjoy a picnic and drink in the park.

“Most students in Lund and other parts of Sweden respect the recommendations ... although even a small number of people still going to the park can become a big risk,” Sandberg explained.

Sweden has taken a relaxed approach to combating Covid-19, asking, rather than ordering, people to observe social-distancing guidelines. In keeping with this approach, authorities have requested that people avoid gathering for Walpurgis Night this year; however, the festivities have not been banned.

Despite it not being outlawed, one suspects that Lund’s approach will ensure that Walpurgis Night is a quiet one this year.

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