Sweden prepares for possible second wave of COVID-19 in autumn

While the growth of new COVID-19 cases and deaths is slowing down recently in Sweden, the government has ordered public agencies and local authorities to prepare for a potential second wave of the pandemic in autumn.

“These glimmers of light do not mean the danger is over because nobody knows how Sweden will be affected in fall,” said Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, at a Monday press conference held jointly with Minister for Public Administration, Lena Micko.

Both national and regional plans must be in place, as a second wave will likely involve cluster outbreaks, said Micko, adding that “it is difficult to predict when and how infections will occur.”

To that end, the government has ordered four public agencies and 21 county administrative boards to help cope with a potential second wave.

The county administrative boards are tasked with coordinating developments of the local county in line with goals set at the national level. The four public agencies are the Public Health Agency, the National Board of Health and Welfare, the Medical Products Agency, and the Civil Contingencies Agency.

One of the tasks set for the Public Health Agency is to investigate whether it is possible to issue recommendations and rules that can be adapted for different regions, depending on local conditions, instead of the recommendations applied uniformly across the country, as is the case presently.

As of Monday afternoon, Sweden had reported a total of 73,061 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 5,433 deaths.