STOCKHOLM, August 23 (Reuters) – Sweden is likely to see COVID -19 infections pick up in the coming months while the current restrictions to limit the spread will need to be maintained until a higher proportion of the adult population is vaccinated, Health Agency said last Monday.
Sweden, which has chosen suspensions and mostly relied on voluntary measures, has experienced a rest in the pandemic during the summer with few deaths and hospital stays. But cases have increased in recent weeks and that trend is expected to continue when schools reopen and people return to work.
“All three of our scenarios point to increased spread during the autumn,” the health authority said in a statement. “More people are expected to need hospitalization and intensive care, but at significantly lower levels than before during the pandemic.”
While infections have been lower during the summer, the rapid spread of the highly infectious Delta variant has seen authorities urge Swedes to be vigilant, especially when colder weather forces people indoors.
It said that current restrictions and recommendations, mainly to limit social interactions, isolate if they are ill and work from home if possible, should be maintained until more people have received COVID jobs. About 65% of the adult population are fully vaccinated.
“When the vaccination coverage rate is high enough so that healthcare does not risk being overloaded, the Public Health Agency believes that it is reasonable to phase out most infection control measures, despite a spread of the virus,” it says.
Sweden has seen significantly higher deaths per capita than its Nordic neighbors during the pandemic, but lower than in most European countries.
Reporting by Johan Ahlander; editing by Niklas Pollard
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