Just a day after Sweden virtually removed all Covid-19 restrictions, authorities announced that the number of hospital in-patients being treated for the disease is on the rise.
According to the latest statistics, 2,043 patients required hospitalisation this week – 40 more than a week ago, reports Xinhua news agency.
“The healthcare system is still strained. There are still many patients in hospitals and also many infected in special housing and home care,” Anna Bennet Bark of the National Board of Health and Welfare said at a press conference on Thursday.
This situation is further compounded by the fact that many healthcare staff are off sick, Bennet Bark said.
The number of deaths related to Covid-19 has also increased compared to last week, but Sara Byfors of the Swedish Public Health Agency said it was still too early to say whether these deaths were due to the disease.
Compared to a week earlier, the number of confirmed infections in 24 hours had halved to 17,000, with around 45 per cent of all tests coming out positive.
However, testing has been rolled back considerably and is now only recommended for those working in health care or at nursing homes.
“The pandemic is entering a new phase, but the spread of infection is still high,” Byfors said, calling for more efforts on vaccination.
Sweden has now administered 20 million vaccine doses, in a population of 10.4 million.
As of Thursday, 86.6 per cent of those aged 12 or older had received at least one dose, while 83.8 per cent had had two doses.
Among those aged 18 and older, 54.4 per cent had also received a booster dose, up from 50 per cent last week.
Official statistics show that 37 additional deaths from Covid-19 had been recorded since Wednesday, bringing the total to just under 16,400, while the cumulative number of confirmed infections was approaching 2.4 million in the country.