Apr 15, 2021 - World

Swedish region announces "personal lockdown" amid surging COVID cases

Protesters holding a demonstration against lockdowns in humlegård park in Stockholm.

Protesters holding a demonstration in Stockholm in March against vaccinations and lockdowns amid a ban on meetings of more than eight people in a group, which the protesters violated. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

One of Sweden's most populous regions has asked residents to enter a "personal lockdown" in order to curb soaring COVID-19 cases, Euronews reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Sweden's more relaxed approach to the pandemic prompted libertarians and conservatives, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), to argue the U.S. should've adopted a similar strategy. But the country this week reported the highest infection rate in the EU.

By the numbers: Sweden reported a seven-day average of 625 new infections per million people, statistics published Tuesday by the scientific online publication OurWorldInData show.

What's happening: Mikael Köhler, health chief of the Swedish region of Uppsala, told Euronews regional health officials were asking each resident "to act like they are in a personal lockdown."

  • "If they have to meet other people ... everyone has to suspect that everyone they are meeting could be infected," he added.

The big picture: Patient numbers in Sweden's intensive care units have surged "past the peak of the second wave around the turn of the year," Reuters reports.

  • Sweden's chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said Tuesday there were "no signs of a decrease" in the spread officials were seeing, per Reuters.
  • While the country has never imposed a strict lockdown like other nations, it has introduced measures including international travel restrictions and limits on public gatherings to eight and restaurant tables to four.

For the record: Uppsala is one of 13 of the 21 regions in Sweden to have implemented stricter pandemic measures this spring, according to The Local.

  • "While this is a noticeably sharper tone, the actual recommendations in place in Uppsala remain the same, The Local notes.
  • This guidance includes staying 2 meters (6.5 feet) from others, wearing a face mask if you need to use public transport, don't meet up with people you don't live with and work from home "if you can," per The Local.

Flashback: Coronavirus helps drive Sweden death tally to highest in 151 years

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