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Stockholm schools send pupils home amid warnings of overstretched intensive care wards due to Covid-19

Stockholm schools send pupils home amid warnings of overstretched intensive care wards due to Covid-19
Schools in Stockholm will send home all pupils aged 14-16 for remote learning until 2021 in a bid to hold back a second wave of coronavirus. The Swedish capital had issued a call for help over its strained intensive care capacity.

"We must greatly reduce our contacts, so unfortunately I am forced to recommend that [Stockholm region] municipalities from Monday end teaching on site for students in high school," Stockholm's disease control officer Maria Rotzen Ostlund said on Friday.

She announced that distance learning alone is "not enough," explaining that it is also important for Stockholm's residents to limit their social contacts during free time in order to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

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The Swedish capital is currently the region worst affected by the pandemic, accounting for a third of the country's coronavirus fatalities.

Earlier in the week, local media reported that its 160 care beds were 99 percent full. The region has sent Swedish health chiefs a formal call for assistance, which will be referred to the armed forces in the hope of securing extra medical equipment.

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The government will text reminders to every Swedish mobile number starting Monday, as Swedes will be advised to avoid travel, only eat Christmas dinner with close contacts, and only host a 'Santa Claus' from within their social circle.

The country is one of a handful of states that did not bring in a national lockdown in spring when the first wave of the virus took hold, instead opting for a more laissez-faire approach.

On December, 11, it reported a further 7,370 new Covid-19 cases, a decrease from the 7,935 registered a day prior, according to Health Agency data.

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