Press briefing sets spotlight on student parties
The spread of infection of Covid-19 is increasing, and we are seeing outbreaks of infection in several towns with significant student populations, often linked to student parties. The government press briefing on Friday afternoon was for this reason directed to the more than 400,000 students in Sweden.
So far this autumn, around 200 students have been infected by the Covid-19 virus. Eight regions have reported outbreaks with links to institutions of higher education. The spread of infection has not, however, taken place in correlation with studies: it has been at private parties, student parties, reception activities and in party marquees.
“The pandemic is not over! We must regroup, and we are now addressing the students in Sweden”, said Matilda Ernkrans, minister for higher education and research, at the press briefing. “Many students are acting responsibly, doing things right, and coping with their studies despite the pandemic and the use of distance teaching. We want to thank these students. There are, however, many who are not acting responsibly.”
“We are now seeing outbreaks of infection at several towns with significant student populations, often linked to parties. Reports from the Public Health Agency of Sweden show that most of the new cases of coronavirus infection are young people between the ages of 20 and 29 years. Student parties have been clearly identified as a risk factor.”
“Our institutions of higher education have done excellent work with adapting their teaching methods such that they can continue during the pandemic. They are now carefully reopening their campuses, in a responsible manner. Unfortunately, this careful reopening seems to have been interpreted by far too many students as indicating that they are free to return to a more normal student life.”
“We have not, however, returned to normality”, the minister emphasised. “We are still in the middle of a pandemic! It cannot be justified that some students cause their own and other people’s on-campus education to be stopped as a result of their party habits – habits that at the same time contribute to increasing the spread of infection. And these students are not just exposing themselves to risk, but also everyone close to them. In the long run, we see that the capacity of the healthcare system is put at risk, and with it people’s lives.”
“I ask all students to act more responsibly. It’s time for a new start, and you bear a large responsibility in the work to reduce the spread of infection. I’m expecting you to take on that responsibility!”
Participants at the press briefing were Matilda Ernkrans, minister for higher education and research; Johan Carlson, general director of the Public Health Agency of Sweden; and Simon Edström, chair of the Swedish National Union of Students.
Translated by George Farrants
Last updated: 2020-10-09