More than half of the places in intensive care units at Swedish hospitals are occupied by corona patients.
Sweden has passed half a million cases of infection.
This is shown by figures from the Swedish National Board of Health, Folkhälsomyndigheten, on Tuesday.
Since Friday, the number of infected in Sweden has increased by 17,995 cases.
Thus, a total of 506,866 cases of infection have been detected in the country since the coronavirus broke out. That equates to 4,954 infected per 100,000 inhabitants.
Sweden does not update infection rates daily as in Denmark.
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell says at a press conference on Tuesday that the number of infected people has been declining in recent weeks. However, this may be due to the fact that fewer people have been tested over Christmas.
He warns that the coming time may lead to a greater spread of infection.
– We are in a critical phase where we are close to the limit of what the healthcare system can tolerate.
– We are in a phase where we know that we can increase the spread. That is why it is extremely important to follow the basic advice, he says according to the newspaper Aftonbladet.
None of the regions in Sweden expect an improvement in capacity within the coming weeks. This is what Johanna Sandwall, who is head of crisis preparedness at the National Board of Health and Welfare, says.
– Currently, 60 percent of the country’s intensive care units are occupied by covid-19 patients. The national available intensive capacity is about 20 percent, but it varies across the country, she says according to the Swedish news agency TT.
She adds that there are still more corona patients admitted now than there were at any time during the spring.
– We have a heavily strained situation in the health care system, she says.
The Riksdag in Sweden passed a new pandemic law on Friday. It gives the government increased opportunities to introduce measures to curb corona infection.
This applies, for example, to the possibility of introducing assembly bans, closing public transport, shops, gyms and so on.
As one of the few countries in Europe, Sweden has not been subject to a definite shutdown during the pandemic.
Instead, the strategy of both the government and the authorities has largely relied on recommendations, which state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has most often spearheaded.
/ ritzau /
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