‘Very serious situation’: Swedish PM announces tougher social distancing rules for restaurants

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has warned that the country may see more deaths from Covid-19, as he imposed stricter guidelines on visits to dining venues.

Only groups of no more than eight people will be allowed to sit at the same table in restaurants across the country, Lofven announced on Tuesday.

Tougher restrictions will also be introduced in three additional regions: Halland, Orebro, and Jonkoping. This means the number of regions living under some type of local restrictions will rise to eight out of 21. The exact measures will be determined by regional authorities with the Public Health Agency of Sweden.

Lofven called the situation “very serious” and “dangerous,” noting how the nation’s death toll from Covid-19 was steadily approaching 6,000 people.

“More and more intensive care units are being used to treat patients with severe cases of Covid-19. There is also a lot of [data] suggesting that the number of deaths will increase.”

The PM urged “every citizen to take responsibility” in following the rules and staying vigilant toward the virus.

“What we are doing now is going to make a difference for how we get to celebrate Christmas,” he said.

Health Minister Lena Hallengren warned that the pandemic was “dragging on,” therefore, “if new national measures and restrictions are needed, they will be taken.”

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Since the early days of the pandemic, Sweden has adopted a starkly different approach to tackle the spread of the disease than most European nations, including its Nordic neighbors. The government refrained from imposing strict lockdowns across the nation, instead focusing on the protection of vulnerable groups and relying on voluntary social distancing.

Attracting much attention around the world, the ‘Swedish model’ sparked debates both at home and abroad, with many doubting whether it was adequate to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

A total of 31 deaths and 10,177 new infections have been recorded in Sweden since Friday, according to health officials. Overall, the country has had 134,532 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

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Source:RT World News

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