Swedish parliament passes new temporary law to combat COVID-19 pandemic

2021-01-08 16:05:41 GMT2021-01-09 00:05:41(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

STOCKHOLM, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Swedish parliament on Friday passed a new temporary law, which allows the government to impose more restrictive measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

"It will be used soon," said Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, referring to the temporary law, which is scheduled to come into force on Sunday until the end of September.

"It is, for example, public transport. Now we have the face mask recommendation, but we may need to do more there. It is also about gyms, shopping centers and those who rent out premises for parties," Lofven was quoted by Swedish Television as saying.

So far, Sweden has adopted a relatively loose approach with only public recommendations offered by the Public Health Agency. However, more restrictive measures seem inevitable as the confirmed and death cases continue soaring during the second wave.

With the new law, the government can, for example, stop, if necessary, public transport, regulate how many people may gather in a public place or decide to close shops and shopping centers.

Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren said that the main purpose of the new law was not to close businesses, but rather to limit, for example, opening hours and visitors.

"It is about taking different types of restrictive measures that can be targeted much more specifically," she was quoted by Swedish Television as saying.

Hallengren said anyone who violates the measures may be forced to pay a fine. This applies to both businesses and private individuals.

According to statistics from the Public Health Agency on Friday, 7,187 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Sweden since Thursday, bring the total number of infections to 489,471.

Meanwhile, 171 new deaths have been registered in the last 24 hours, bringing the total deaths to 9,433.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 235 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 63 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan. 6. Enditem