Sweden to ease COVID rules for vaccinated care home residents

·1 min read
Asa Wernsten works at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test station for the for arriving passengers at Arlanda airport

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden will ease restrictions on elderly residents of care homes who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, the country's top epidemiologist said on Wednesday, at the same time as rules for the rest of the country are tightened.

Sweden has seen a rise in cases in the last couple of weeks, raising fears of a third wave of infections and leading the Public Health Agency to warn it would introduce tougher controls to halt the spread of the pandemic.

Tighter restrictions are expected to be announced on Wednesday.

At the same time, more than 80% of residents of care homes for the elderly have received their first vaccination against COVID-19 and 64% have completed a course of two shots, according to daily Dagens Nyheter.

"We have discussed how those who have been fully vaccinated can live, and we think it can be a little different from the very restrictive way they have been doing up to now," Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told the newspaper.

Lighter rules for elderly care home patients who have had both shots will be announced on Thursday, Dagens Nyheter wrote.

When it comes time to ease restrictions in general, Tegnell said Sweden did not need to follow the kind of rigid road-map announced this week by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as the lockdown had not been so hard.

"We do not need to take the kind of strict steps that Britain is doing," he said. "When we see that the spread of the infection is a little more stable, we can slowly start to ease a number of restrictions."

(Reporting by Simon Johnson; editing by Niklas Pollard)