MURMANSK (Sputnik) - The Swedish public health agency has recommended that commuters wear face masks on public transport, the prime minister said Friday, after he admitted that coronavirus was spreading across the country at a worrying pace.
"The situation continues to be very serious. The infection is spreading fast, putting a lot of strain on the healthcare system. Health workers and care home employees are working around the clock," Stefan Lofven said at a news conference.
Sweden has long ignored the World Health Organization's advice to mandate the use of facial coverings in public spaces and refused to follow EU countries in imposing a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus.
On Friday, the Nordic country recorded 100 virus-related deaths, taking the toll to 7,993, with more than 367,000 people catching the virus since the outbreak began.
Starting December 24, the maximum number of people allowed to share a table in a restaurant will be limited to four. Pubs will be banned from selling alcohol after 8 p.m. Stores, shopping malls and gyms will have to take measures to avoid crowding. Saunas, libraries and museums will close until January 24.
Sweden has also banned entry to non-EU nationals until March 31. Waivers will be given to citizens of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican City, as well as to health care workers, diplomats, and seasonal workers.
Separately, Switzerland announced Friday that Swedish travelers will be put into a 10-day quarantine starting Saturday. At the same time, it removed Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Jordan, North Macedonia, and several Austrian and Italian regions from its list of high-risk zones.