New measures against increased rates of COVID-19
At this week’s press conference, the Swedish Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten, FHM) presented proposals for new measures that will be implemented if the COVID-19 infection rate increases in Sweden. Based on this information, Linköping University (LiU) has now begun to prepare an action plan. We are ready to implement this plan following the Swedish government’s decision next week (6-10 December).
At the press conference, the Public Health Agency announced that the rate of infection in Sweden may rise in the coming weeks. This is partly due to the colder weather, and partly because gatherings have been getting larger since the latest restrictions were lifted. Furthermore, Christmas and New Year are just around the corner. Therefore, even if Sweden is not quite seeing the same development as other countries, where case numbers are rising fast, the Public Health Agency has suggested the following measures:
- Individuals are advised to practise social distancing, avoid crowded spaces and avoid public transport. If you must take public transport and/or cannot avoid crowded spaces, you are advised to wear a face mask.
- Employers are advised to allow employees to work from home to a certain extent, hold digital meetings instead of physical ones and avoid large gatherings. Employers are also advised to implement measures to ensure that social distancing can be practised at workplaces.
The Public Health Agency has also proposed changes to the advice regarding crowding at eateries and on public transport.
At the press conference, the Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren stated that the government will look at the Agency’s proposals immediately, and that a decision about the measures can be expected shortly.
“We expect a government decision to come next week, and we need to prepare ourselves to act. Our priority all along has been to ensure that teaching and examinations can take place as normally as possible. We will return to the question of which measures are relevant for us when the government has made its decision”, says Joakim Nejdeby, who coordinates the working group responsible for LiU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One question which the working group has already discussed is how Christmas parties and other Christmas-related events can work in conjunction with the advice to avoid crowding.
“Regardless of the size of the gathering, there are always ways to avoid crowding. Think about the practical elements of your event, and if you can’t make it safe, our advice is to cancel.”
“The single most important measure for reducing infection remains to get as many people as possible vaccinated. The fact that the Östergötland region and Sweden generally are in a favourable position right now is partially down to the fact that so many people have gone and got vaccinated. But there are still some who have not received two doses, and even some who haven’t received any”, says Joakim Nejdeby.
Translated by Benjamin Davies
Last updated: 2021-12-06