Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.
The Swedish government is set to extend legislation allowing it to introduce restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced on Thursday.
“Sweden must be well-prepared in the event of a deteriorating situation or new outbreaks,” Lofven said in a joint press conference with the Public Health Agency, adding that the spread of infection “is no longer at low levels.”
The so-called “pandemic law” was introduced on Jan. 10 and was supposed to end on Sept. 30. It is now expected to be extended to Jan. 31, 2022.
Under the pandemic law, the government can limit opening times of bars and restaurants, as well as the number of people allowed at public events, in shops, and on long-distance bus and train journeys.
The prime minister’s announcement was welcomed by the Public Health Agency. “We have seen that the situation can change quickly, which leads to more aggressive variants taking over,” said the agency’s Director-General Johan Carlson.
The government has also tasked the agency with analyzing the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks during autumn and winter.
However, although the situation has worsened since restrictions were lifted at the start of the summer holidays, no new restrictions were announced at the press conference.
From July 26 to Aug. 1, 3,451 new infections were confirmed in Sweden, according to the statistics from the Public Health Agency. This is an increase of 30 percent from the previous week.
The agency’s statistics also show that by Thursday, 80.7 percent of the adult population aged 18 or older had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while 57.6 percent had been fully vaccinated.