Tuesday. 26.09.2023

Sweden on Tuesday said that a maximum of eight people were to be allowed to dine together at restaurants or cafes in a bid to stem a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

"We see that the situation is heading in the wrong direction - the situation is very serious," Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told a press conference.

He added that more patients were being treated in intensive care units for severe cases of Covid-19, and it was likely that fatalities would rise.

One in five patients receiving intensive care was a Covid-19 patient, added Lena Hallengren, Sweden's minister of health and social affairs.

Another indication of the rising caseload was that three more Swedish regions on Tuesday advised residents to refrain from visits to shopping centres, museums, libraries, swimming pools and fitness centres.

Avoid public transport

Other advice was to avoid public transport and to work from home where possible, and for people to avoid meeting with others outside their own household.

These recommendations now apply for seven in 10 people in Sweden, Lofven said.

"We have a long and tough winter ahead of us. It is necessary that we all do our utmost to stem the spread of infection," said Johan Carlson, head of the Swedish Public Health Agency.

The country of 10.3 million has seen roughly 134,500 infections and 5,969 coronavirus-related deaths in total.

Swedish prime minister warns of 'very serious' coronavirus situation