New Covid-19 wave in Sweden ‘to peak at end of September’

Sweden's Public Health Agency has warned of a new autumn wave of Covid-19 which it expects to peak at the end of September.

New Covid-19 wave in Sweden 'to peak at end of September'
A Covid-19 ward in a gym at Kristianstad hospital in the second wave back in January 2021. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

According to both of the two new scenarios published by the agency on Monday, infection rates are set to rise steadily over the next month, something the agency said was due to a falling immunity in the population and greater contact between people as they return to schools and workplaces after the summer. 

“It is difficult to say how high the peak will be, but it is unlikely that it will reach the same levels as in January and February,” the agency’s unit chief Sara Byfors said in a press release. “The most important thing is that people in risk groups and those who are 65 years old and above get vaccinated with a booster dose in the autumn to reduce the risk of serious illness and death.” 

Under Scenario 0, the amount of contact between people stays at current levels, leading to a peak in reported Covid-19 cases at around 5,000 a day. In Scenario 1, contact between people increases by about 10 percent from the middle of August, leading to a higher peak of about 7,000 reported cases a day. 

The agency said that employers should be prepared for many staff to be off sick simultaneously at points over the next month, but said in its release that it did not judge the situation to be sufficiently serious to require either it or the government to impose additional infection control measures. 

It was important, however, it said, that those managing health and elderly care continued to test those with symptoms and to track the chain of infections, that people go and get the booster doses when they are supposed to have under the vaccination programme, and that those who have symptoms of Covid-19 stay home. 

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Sweden has no plans to introduce Covid-19 restrictions this winter

Sweden's government is not planning on bringing in new Covid-19 restrictions or recommendations, despite the spread of infection increasing, according to health minister Jakob Forssmed.

Sweden has no plans to introduce Covid-19 restrictions this winter

In an interview with public broadcaster Sveriges Radio, health minister Jakob Forssmed said that the government was “prepared if the situation becomes worse than what we’re currently seeing”.

“However, we’ve made the assessment that the illness is no longer a danger to society. The pandemic is still here, but we’re in a new phase,” he told the radio.

There are no plans to introduce large-scale testing either, Forssmed said, adding that following the spread of infection in other ways, such as testing waste water, is currently sufficient.

“It might be necessary at some point to scale up to large-scale testing. But it’s also very expensive and requires a lot of resources, and the assessment now is that it can be tracked in other ways,” he said.