Sweden could impose fresh measures to fight possible new Covid-19 wave
Stokholm, May 3 (IANS) Just one month after Sweden announced Covid-19 was no longer considered dangerous, scrapping health measures to fight the disease, the country's public health agency on Monday said it is prepared to introduce new restrictive measures should yet another wave hit the country.
In one of three hypothetical scenarios, the agency described a situation where a potential new strain of the virus could evade the immune system and cause severe illness, Xinhua news agency reported.
"We would then be in a situation where the vaccination effort is not enough, and we would need to introduce measures such as limiting social contact and restricting public gatherings, and recommend working from home," Sara Byfors, a unit manager at the agency, told Swedish Television.
The agency also presented two other possible, but not as worrying, scenarios. Even though the worst-case scenario is not deemed as the most likely, there are signs that the spread of infection is once again accelerating.
By the end of April, an average of 25 people were being hospitalised with Covid-19 in Sweden every day. This figure is likely to double by mid-May, the agency said.
As in many other countries, the Omicron subvariant BA.2, which is more transmissible, is now dominating in Sweden. The scrapping of restrictions is also thought to have contributed to the spread of infection.
"The most important thing right now is that everyone who has the opportunity is vaccinated (...) to protect themselves from severe illness," said the agency's Director-General Karin Tegmark Wisell in a press release. "At the same time, the consequences for society are reduced -- for example the current burden on the health care system, and absence from work."
All those aged 65 and older should get a fourth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, she added.