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Sweden raises law to close stores if necessary to contain pandemic

The Government of Sweden has proposed a law that would allow it to close stores and control capacity if necessary to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, a measure that is proposed as a last resort and that contrasts with the lax application of measures since the beginning of the health emergency.

“We are not going to get rid of the pandemic, although the vaccines obviously improve the outlook”, warned the Minister of Health, Lena Hallengren, defending the need to “have a regulation in force during the next year.” If it passes the consultation processes, the new law would take effect in March, according to the Bloomberg agency.

Sweden already had a temporary law to close businesses, but it expired on June 30 and was never enforced. It was in the middle of the first wave, when the country already suffered worse data than its Nordic neighbors after basically relying on recommendations and avoiding home confinement.

The Government, in a minority, has accelerated the pace in recent weeks, on the eve of a rebound in infections. Thus, it has limited the number of people who can meet in public spaces to eight and prohibited the sale of alcohol after 10 pm, although neither before nor now with the new law it poses restrictions in the private sphere.

“We have adopted strong restrictions in the way of life of the people, but it is not possible to close it completely,” explained the Minister of Health, who has admitted that “concrete measures” may be necessary that would affect places located outside the current regulation.

Sweden, which updates its coronavirus balance only twice a week, raised the number of COVID-19 cases to date to 297,732 on Tuesday, 18,820 more than on Friday. The death toll has risen to 7,200, compared to the 7,067 registered up to December 4, reports ‘The Local’.

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