Swedish PM Stefan Löfven’s Rare Televised Speech to the Nation

November 23, 2020

STOCKHOLM — Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has urged his countrymen to do what it takes to fight the coronavirus pandemic as “people’s health and lives are still in danger” and that danger “is increasing.”

In a rare televised address late Sunday, the somber-looking Lofven said “the reality is exactly that, harsh and brutal.” He said it was “utterly necessary” to act.

“A stranger you infect could get very ill. A friend you infect could need care. A grandparent you infect could die,” Lofven said. “These are the people for whom you have to show decisiveness, self-discipline and a sense of responsibility.

Sweden opted for a different — and much debated — approach to handling the pandemic by keeping large sections of society open and relied mainly on recommendations for people to maintain social distance.

In the fall as the virus resurged, Sweden saw a rapid increase in new cases and strains put on medical services pushed the government to take stricter measures, including a nationwide ban on the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. in bars and restaurants. Sweden also banned public gatherings of more than eight people.

Sweden has reported more than 201,000 cases and 6,340 deaths.


NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden promised to distribute hundreds of millions of free COVID-19 tests and to open more testing sites to fight surging infections, but the stepped-up efforts will not come in time for people who want to find out if they are infected before the holidays.

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