Sweden’s PM tests positive for Covid

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has tested positive for Covid-19, her office said Friday, making her the third party leader to catch the disease following a meeting earlier this week.

Andersson speaks during a press conference in Stockholm [File: Marko Saavala/TT News Agency/AFP

“The prime minister has tested positive for Covid-19 in a rapid test. She is following current recommendations and will conduct her work from home,” press secretary Johan Ekstrom told AFP via text message.

Ekstrom said Andersson was feeling well “under the circumstances”.

In addition to Andersson, Per Bolund — who leads the Green Party together with Marta Stenevi — and Centre Party leader Annie Loof have also contracted the illness following a party leaders’ meeting on Wednesday.

The Nordic country of 10.3 million is currently registering record numbers of infections, with a high of 25,567 cases on Thursday.

Earlier this week Sweden announced a slew of new virus curbs, including early closings for bars and restaurants and a cap of 500 people at public gatherings.

Health authorities have warned that the situation for health services is already “very strained”.

Sweden made headlines in the early days of the pandemic when it, unlike most other countries, did not introduce any form of lockdown or school closures.

Instead, it adopted a softer approach, recommending social distancing, homeworking and only limited use of face masks.

It however banned visits to elderly care homes, limited the number of people allowed to attend public gatherings and restricted opening hours at bars and restaurants. 

Sweden’s death toll of some 15,300 is around the European average.

But it is significantly higher than those of its neighbours Norway, Finland and Denmark, which initially sparked heated debate about the Swedish strategy.