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Sweden extends restrictions again as case numbers stay high

Sweden has again extended restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as case numbers there remain high, the prime minister said on Thursday.

Stockholm, 22 April 2021 (dpa/MIA) — Sweden has again extended restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as case numbers there remain high, the prime minister said on Thursday.

Plans to relax a cap on the number of people allowed to gather and to permit events such as concerts as of May 3 have been shelved, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told a press conference.

Such easing will only be possible once the strain on the health care system lessens and case numbers fall.

That means gatherings remain limited to eight people, with 20 permitted at funerals.

Restrictions on restaurants, shops and gyms are also due to remain in place, according to the health authority. Restaurants, pubs and cafes will continue to close at 8:30 pm until May 17 at least.

Restrictions on the number of people allowed in shopping centers, shops and gyms are also due to remain in place.

In Sweden, municipal authorities are also able to ban gatherings in their local areas if they fear crowding. Uppsala and Lund have already issued such bans ahead of celebrations of Walpurgis Night on April 30, which are traditionally held on a large scale.

Sweden took a different route amid the pandemic, imposing relatively few restrictions and instead appealing to people to behave sensibly.

However, some tougher measures were introduced there, although still less strict than in other countries in the European Union.

Then, in mid-February, case numbers rose in Sweden and have remained at that higher level ever since.

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