Sweden Tightens COVID Restrictions As Omicron Clauds Outlook

PARIS, France – Sweden will urge all employee to work from home if possible and impose tighter rules for social distancing, the government said on Tuesday, as it ratchets up restrictions aimed at fighting a surge in new infections of the COVID – 19 virus.

The number of new virus cases in Sweden, which sparked international attention last year for its rejection of hard lockdowns, have shot up in recent weeks after a calm autumn when most restrictions were phased out.

While hospitalizations and the number of patients requiring intensive care are still among the lowest per capita in Europe, these have also begun rising.

‘We must now take joint responsibility and we need adapt to the new reality’, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told a news conference. ‘I understand that many are tired of this – so am I – but we now have a new virus variant, which means we are in a new situation’.

Meanwhile, fresh projection from the Public Health Agency of how the pandemic will develop showed the pace of new infections continuing to increase in the coming weeks and peaking in January.

The latest restrictions – the second stage of the government’s plans – also included a limit of 50 people at private gathering and the need for a vaccination pass for public events where are more than 500 people.

The new rules also will required seated – only service at bars and restaurants as well as seated – only participants at larger public events, implying venues such as night clubs may need to close, at least in part.

Earlier this month, the government reintroduced some limited measures, such as the use of masks on public transport, amid concerns about rising infections and worries about the new Omicron variant.

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