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18 Dec, 2020 16:16

Sweden says maximum of FOUR people can gather at Christmas, non-essential workers to stay home for a month as Covid cases rise

Sweden says maximum of FOUR people can gather at Christmas, non-essential workers to stay home for a month as Covid cases rise

The Swedish prime minister has announced a raft of harsh new Covid restrictions, including limiting Christmas gatherings to four people and ordering non-essential workers to work from home until January 24, as infections mount.

Speaking on Friday, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said that “this year, Christmas will be different,” as he announced the new measures to tackle Covid-19, some of which are to kick in on Christmas Eve. 

“The situation is still serious, and the situation in the healthcare system is very strained,” Löfven asserted. 

The PM spoke of his concern that the Christmas period could see Covid infections spike in the new year, and would cause the healthcare system to be overwhelmed: 

The maximum number of people in gatherings will be reduced to four people, starting on 24 December. Just celebrate Christmas with those closest to you.

Lofven, who has come under fire in recent days following an official report that blamed his government for excess care home deaths during the pandemic, also announced that all non-essential workers would be made to work from home until January 24.

In addition, the PM said the serving of alcohol would be prohibited beyond 8pm throughout the country. 

Also on rt.com Inquiry finds Swedish govt ‘bears ultimate responsibility’ over failures to protect elderly from Covid-19 pandemic

Earlier in the year, Sweden took a different approach to most countries in tackling Covid, aiming to achieve herd immunity by allowing the virus to spread but protecting the vulnerable, and without the economy-shaking move of full national lockdowns.

However, Sweden has suffered a disproportionately large number of Covid deaths compared to neighboring countries. 

On Friday, Swedish health officials registered a new country high of 9,654 Covid cases and 100 deaths. There have been 77.51 deaths per 100,000 people due to the virus in Sweden, almost 10 times the figure in each of neighboring countries Norway and Finland, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

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