The Swedish government is now asking the Public Health Agency to quickly draw up a national strategy to increase the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that although Sweden has been carrying out COVID-19 tests at a similar level to other “comparable countries”, with more than 36,000 people tested for the virus a few days ago, the main goal of increasing tests is to find out if people in essential jobs, such as healthcare and the emergency services, have the virus or have had it and may now be immune.
Health Minister Lena Hallengren said that more people who have isolated themselves can come back to work if the test shows that they don’t have the coronavirus, which means better conditions for workers in the healthcare, social care, and other sectors.
However, she added that there won’t be sufficient numbers of tests to mean that everyone who wants a test will be able to have one. Meanwhile, the government also announced a new national ban on visits to elderly care homes.
This followed earlier recommendations from the Public Health Agency to avoid all non-essential visits to the elderly, and some regions have introduced their own bans.
This is because old age, and in particular being over 70, is seen as the foremost risk factor for the coronavirus. The said ban will come into force on Wednesday, April 1st.
The Prime Minister also reminded people of their individual responsibility in fighting the spread of the coronavirus.
He also asked parents to avoid the Easter tradition of children asking for sweets at neighboring houses and warned that It is highly likely that the situation will get worse before it gets better, stressing that the next few weeks will be decisive.