Stockholm sees lowest COVID-19 circumstances since March

Stockholm sees lowest COVID-19 cases since March

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While COVID-19 infection rates are soaring in many European countries, Stockholm, the epicenter of the Swedish outbreak, has steadily declined and has recorded the fewest cases since early March last week, officials said on Thursday.

In the Swedish capital, 250 out of 14,000 people tested last week were infected with the virus, a positive rate of 1.8 percent.

Per Follin, department head at Stockholm's Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, said it was "the lowest level in a long time".

"We can't really compare every now and then" because extensive testing wasn't done in Sweden until June, "but you could say since week 10 or 11, possibly even earlier," Follin told AFP in an email.

Before June, Stockholm only tested serious hospitalized cases.

The number of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit is also currently low. As of August 31, there were six patients in Stockholm's hospitals, up from 225 at the end of April, the local Stockholm Region health authority said.

"The reason we have a relatively low gearbox now is mainly because so many Stockholmers follow recommendations to stay home when you're sick, wash your hands and keep your distance," Follin said in a statement.

Sweden made headlines earlier this year with a high profile refusal to lock themselves out and instead insisted on social distancing and hygiene recommendations.

It has also refused to recommend the use of face masks, but has stated that their use may be recommended in the future.

As of Thursday, Sweden had the eighth highest death toll in the world at 577 per million people, largely due to the lack of protection for elderly people in care homes in the early stages of the pandemic.

However, the Swedish data has been pointing in the right direction for some time.

The daily death toll peaked in April and now stands at a few deaths per day, while the number of cases has steadily declined since early June and the R number has been largely below 1 since early July.

Public health officials have said they do not expect the virus to recur in Sweden, where schools reopened in mid-August.

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Stockholm has the lowest COVID-19 cases since March (2020, September 3).
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