COVID-19: Sweden’s turnaround on masks in the face of the outbreak of the epidemic

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STOCKHOLM | Sweden first recommended wearing a mask on public transport on Friday in a further reversal of its atypical and controversial strategy against the coronavirus.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

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The Scandinavian country, struggling with the second wave, will also adopt a series of new restrictions, including the introduction of gauges in shops and the limitation of tables to four people maximum in restaurants, against eight so far, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced in a press conference.

In a position that has become very isolated, Sweden has so far not recommended wearing masks anywhere, its public health authority judging that their effectiveness has not been demonstrated.

The Prime Minister, however, dismissed the idea of ​​confinement, which he considers “a burden” too heavy for the population to bear in the long term.

Despite a tightening of the authorities in recent weeks, the kingdom and its atypical strategy against the coronavirus – mainly based on non-coercive recommendations – are again put in difficulty by a formidable second wave that the Nordic country has long believed it could avoid.

With 100 deaths announced Friday, the toll of the second wave has exceeded 2,000, bringing the total to 7,993, in a country of 10.3 million people.

Other measures announced Friday: the sale of alcohol will be banned after 8 p.m., and distance education in high schools extended until January 24.

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