The Swedish government on Monday tabled a temporary pandemic law that gives it new powers to curb the spread of Covid-19. She hoped to have it in effect by January.
The government, which controversially relied on mostly non-enforced measures during the pandemic, said the new law would allow it to shut down businesses, shopping malls or public transportation.
It would also be able to limit the number of people allowed in certain public places rather than restricting public gatherings in general.
“Anyone who violates restrictions that restrict access to public places can be sentenced to a fine,” said Health Minister Lena Hallengren at a press conference.
The government said it wanted to have the law in effect by January 10, but it had to be approved by parliament first.
Sweden has made headlines around the world for its decision to tackle the spread of the virus with largely non-enforced measures and never impose the kind of lockdown seen elsewhere in Europe.
Health officials have insisted that fighting the pandemic is “a marathon, not a sprint” and that action must be sustainable in the long run.
But unlike many other countries, Sweden also has no legislation that allows the government to shut society down in peacetime.
In the face of a strong second wave, however, the country has tightened prevention measures in recent months.
As the cases increased, authorities urged people to limit social interactions to immediate family or a few friends.
A ban on public gatherings of more than eight people went into effect last month, and last week the country recommended the use of face masks on public transport for the first time.
Despite the new law and the stricter measures, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven informed SVT shortly before Christmas that the strategy had not changed.
The country of around 10.3 million people had reported a total of 396,048 cases of Covid-19 and 8,279 deaths when the latest figures were released on December 23.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)