The Swedish government has presented a bill in order to have new powers to fight against the epidemic of covid-19: closures of shops, transport, limitation of gatherings … The country deplores more than 8,000 deaths.
The Swedish government introduced a bill on December 28 which, if passed, would give it new powers to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. It would thus be competent to put in place restrictive and coercive measures as well as sanctions in the event of violation of the rules.
These decisions could be manifested by the closure of stores, shopping centers or public transport. But also the limitation of the number of people authorized to gather in certain public places (beaches, parks, etc.). At a press conference, Health Minister Lena Hallengren said that “in very serious situations the government may decide to take extensive measures to prevent crowd gatherings,” as AFP reports. She specifies that “those who violate the restrictions limiting access to public places may be fined”, according to the terms of the project.
The government wants the law to come into force on January 10, 2021. Parliament must first approve the text.
Mask obligatory in public transport
Sweden stood out from most other countries by ruling out any coercive measures since the start of the epidemic. Neither containment nor closures were ordered. The country’s legal arsenal does not have a law authorizing the government to restrict freedom of movement in peacetime. This is one of the reasons why containment has not been and is not possible in Sweden.
But the large number of contaminations compared to its Nordic neighbors prompted the Swedish authorities to react in November, when the decision was made to limit eight people to public events. On December 18, the wearing of a mask was made compulsory in public transport; was also noted the limitation of gauges in shops and restaurant tables to four people (against eight previously). Distance education is extended until January 24.
I believe we have failed
Despite these changes, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven assured SVT public television before Christmas that Sweden had not changed its strategy. “It is exactly the same strategy: to make sure that the spread of infection is limited as much as possible.”
King Charles XVl Gustave, meanwhile, regretted in a televised address: “I think we failed. We have a large number of deaths, and that is terrible, ”he told SVT on December 16.
Sweden has more than 396,000 cases of Covid-19 and 8,279 deaths according to figures announced on December 23.