Swedish authorities have announced restrictions on the number of passengers on trains and buses, out of fear that the Covid-19 pandemic might worsen after a slow and steady downward trend since the week before Christmas.

“It seems that the measures we had in place had a dampening effect, but it is worrying that the declining trend has stopped,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Tegnell added that he expected “a difficult Covid-19 situation for a large part of this winter”, reports Xinhua news agency.

“For a while, it was quite similar across the various regions, with all moving more or less downwards. Now it’s a bit up and down in different places,” the state epidemiologist further said.

To slow down the spread of Covid-19, the government wants tighter restrictions on public-transport journeys, according to Minister for Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth.

“We propose an amendment to the Restriction Ordinance that anyone who organises long-distance traffic by bus or train must ensure that the number of passengers does not at any time exceed half of the vehicle’s seats for journeys exceeding 150 km,” Eneroth said.

The government plans to put the new rules in place from Feburary 14 until the end of May, he added.

Sweden has so far recorded a total of 596,174 Covid-19 cases and 12,188 deaths.

–IANS

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