Third COVID-19 wave is ebbing fast in Sweden, expert says

FILE PHOTO: Karin Tegmark Wisell, Head of Sweden’s Public Health Agency, speaks during a news conference updating on the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) situation, in Stockholm, Sweden November, 19, 2020. TT News Agency/Anders Wiklund via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A third wave of COVID-19 infections is ebbing fast in Sweden but the pandemic is not over in the Scandinavian country, a senior health official said on Thursday.

Sweden has been an outlier in the fight against the pandemic and has opted against lockdowns, instead relying on mostly voluntary measures. It has been hit by a severe third wave of the virus and has had among the highest number of registered cases per capita in Europe in the last two months.

“We’re seeing a relatively steep decline in all European countries, in Sweden as well,” Health Agency official Karin Tegmark Wisell told a news conference. “We still have a large number of individuals who die of the disease and who are admitted to healthcare.”

Sweden registered 1,366 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, health agency statistics showed, the lowest number of new daily cases for more than seven months, though the agency said the figures could be revised because of a technical error.

The country of 10 million has administered 4.9 million vaccine shots. Some 44.3% of the adult population have received one dose and 15.7% are fully vaccinated.

Fifteen new deaths were registered, taking the total to 14,451. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.

Sweden has had among the highest number of cases per capita in recent months, but the number of deaths from the pandemic this year has been at the lower end of the scale in Europe.

The total death toll during the pandemic has been higher than in other Nordic countries but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.

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