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Sweden stun Germany to reach Women’s World Cup semi-finals



Sweden ended Germany’s hopes of a third women’s World Cup win, coming from behind for a surprise 2-1 quarter-final victory on Saturday.

It was all thanks to goals from Sofia Jakobsson and Stina Blackstenius.

The Swedes now face a last-four clash with the Netherlands in Lyon on Wednesday.

But it was a win which means Olympic champions Germany will not have a chance to defend their title in Tokyo next year.

It was sweet revenge for the Swedes, who had lost the Olympic final to the Germans 2-1 in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

They have now booked a place at their old rivals’ expense in the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Many will still look to the other semi-final, Tuesday’s clash between England and the U.S., for the likely winner of the tournament.

But the Swedes showed they should not be under-estimated with their swift counter-attacking style.

Germany began brightly and took the lead in the 16th minute through Lina Magull, who twisted her body perfectly to beat Hedvig Lindahl with a hooked volley.

Germany had not conceded a single goal in the tournament but their defence surprisingly failed to deal with a long ball down the middle from Linda Sembrant.

Jakobsson latched onto it to slot home past goalkeeper Almuth Schult.

At the break, German coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg threw on midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan, looking to add some much-needed creativity.

She had not played since breaking a toe in their tournament opener against China.

Instead, just three minutes after the resumption, it was the Swedes who struck again.

Schult did well to turn away a powerful header by Fridolina Rolfo but the rebound fell kindly to striker Blackstenius.

She fired home from point blank range for her second goal in as many matches.

Substitute Lena Oberdorf missed a great chance to force the game into extra-time when she headed wide with the goal gaping in the 80th minute.

But Sweden held their nerve to reach their fourth World Cup semi-finals.

There were tears on the faces of many of the Germany squad as the reality of their exit ——— and Olympic absence ——— hit home hard.

“We wanted to do so much more. This should not happen like it did,” said Magull.

“We had one, two good chances to equalise but did not manage it. That’s a real shame. We knew they had fast players and wanted to defend high up the pitch,” she said.

“That brings the danger of conceding on the counter, which had happened before the break.”

The win was Sweden’s first over Germany at a major tournament since 1995, having previously come close in the 2003 World Cup final and in the 2016 Rio final.

Sweden’s semi-final opponents were confirmed earlier in the day when Netherlands defeated Italy 2-0 in Valenciennes.

That was courtesy of second-half headers from Vivianne Miedema and Stefanie van der Gragt.


(Edited by Olawale Alabi)


Sweden to lift domestic travel restrictions, but remain cautious




From June 13 on, symptom-free people are expected to be able to travel within Sweden, as long as they observe the social-distancing rules, the government said Thursday.

The government made the decision as the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals has decreased while the regions have scaled up testing, reported Swedish Television.

The government emphasized that people must take responsibility for maintaining social distance: crowding is not acceptable, the journey should not be carried out in case of illness, and anyone who exhibits symptoms and plans to travel should get tested for COVID-19 if there are grounds for medical assessment.

“This is not unconditional. Traveling must not mean that physical distance is impaired, said Johan Carlson, Director General of the Swedish Public Health Agency, during a press conference.

Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin pointed out that lifting of restrictions did not mean that the danger was over and that life could return to normal. She stressed that all other restrictions still remain, for example, prohibition of public gatherings over 50 people and all recommendations that apply to people over 70 years of age.

“It is not travel per se that constitutes a risk, but how well the social distance is maintained. The travel restrictions can start to apply again at any time if the development goes in the wrong direction,” Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren said at the press conference.

“The government and the authorities will monitor the effects of increased travel,” she added.

To date, Sweden has a total of 41,883 confirmed cases and 4,562 deaths, according to the Public Health Agency.


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Large Black Lives Matter protest in Sweden amid virus warnings




Stockholm, June 4, 2020  At least 1,000 people flouted coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings on Thursday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo to protest the recent death of African-American man George Floyd at the hands of United States police, as well as racism elsewhere.

Organisers had been granted permission for 50 people to take part in the Black Lives Matter rally – in line with virus restrictions.

Since far more participants attended, police declared the gathering a breach of the permit and urged the protesters to disperse.

Police said it took well over an hour before the crowd started to leave the beach and recreational area at Ribersborg, a few kilometres from the city centre.

Most of the crowd headed to the city centre, chanting slogans and carrying placards like “No racists on our streets,” the Kvallsposten daily reported.

On Wednesday, several thousand took part in a similar protest in the capital, Stockholm.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven earlier Thursday warned against the risk of COVID-19 infection linked to large crowds even though he said he understood the anger against racism.

“We all have an obligation to consider: ‘Is this the right thing to do at present?’,” he said at a news conference.

Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg also urged protesters to opt for online protests, saying: “otherwise many people risk becoming sick and dying.”

Police have said they cannot ban the protests in advance given that “the right to demonstrate is a strong right in society.

At the same time, the police must ensure that participants follow the rules,” national police chief Anders Thornberg said.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Sweden’s special care homes for elderly see dramatic rise in deaths in April: report




Sweden saw a tripling of deaths at special care homes for elderly people in April compared to the same period last year, figures from the Swedish Register of Palliative Care (SRPC) indicated.

Nearly 800 deaths were reported to SRPC from the Stockholm region alone last month, Swedish Television reported on Thursday.

By comparison, in April 2019, 270 deaths were reported to SRPC, a national quality register that contributes to research and development of palliative care in Sweden. The national figure was 2,634 dead in April this year, compared with 1,728 for April of 2019.

Staffan Lundstrom, a researcher responsible for the SRPC, told Swedish Television on Thursday that a growing number of elderly people are being classified as dying and in need of palliative care, with many being examined remotely rather than being seen in person by doctors.

According to Swedish Television, a person deemed to be in a palliative state is not sent to the hospital in Sweden, but instead receives care at the elderly home to optimize the quality of life and mitigate suffering in the final stage of life.

“I think that a significantly lower number of people are being visited and diagnosed ‘live’… In the best of worlds, the doctor would visit every single patient, but I don’t think that has been possible,” Lundstrom told Swedish Television.

During the COVID-19 epidemic in Sweden, the number of reported deaths has increased dramatically, which Lundstrom said “reflects what we’re also seeing in the rest of the world.”

Normally, around 75 percent of those who die at special care homes for the elderly in Sweden are recorded in the SRPC. However, SRPC does not specify whether or not COVID-19 was the cause of death, or whether the elderly person received palliative care before dying.

According to the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as of October 2018, there were 88,000 Swedes aged 65 or older living in special care homes, where the residents live in their own apartments but have access to care facilities and personnel.


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Sweden’s COVID-19 deaths exceed 4,000




Sweden has seen its COVID-19 death toll rise to 4,029 as of Monday as a total of 33,843 cases have been reported, while 1,957 patients have been treated in intensive care.

Over the past few days, there has been a decline in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with 31 new cases registered between Sunday and Monday. However, Monday also marked the end of a long weekend, which means there is a lag in reporting, Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell noted at a Monday press conference.

“It is very hard to judge where (we) are actually heading right now. There have been very few cases over the past few days but we will likely see an accumulation of cases this coming week… We have unfortunately exceeded 4,000 deaths during this period,” Tegnell told the press.

Tegnell added that when the epidemic was at its peak there were 400 COVID-19 infections recorded per week in Sweden. Now there are between 60 and 70 new cases per week. In addition, the number of fatalities at nursing homes has decreased. At one point there were well over 100 deaths reported per week and now the figure is down to 30, Tegnell said at the briefing.

The government introduced a national ban on visits to elderly homes in late March. While Tegnell did not believe visiting restrictions should be completely lifted, he said they can be gradually eased if done “under controlled forms.”

“It is very important for the elderly and for their relatives to be in contact with one another,” Tegnell said.

After the long weekend, data from Swedish telecoms company Telia showed that long-distance journeys from Stockholm to the southern region of Skane and to the Baltic island of Gotland increased by 156 percent and 122 percent respectively compared to the previous week, Swedish Radio reported. But compared to the same weekend last year, visits to Gotland were down by up to 60 percent.


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Sweden tops Europe COVID-19 deaths per capita over past seven days



Sweden tops Europe COVID-19 deaths per capita over past seven days

Stockholm, May 19, 2020   Sweden, which has opted for a more open strategy in combating the virus than other European countries has the highest number of deaths in Europe per capita from the COVID-19 disease over the past seven days, data showed.

Sweden has kept most schools, restaurant and businesses open during the pandemic. While deaths are on the decline Sweden had 6.25 deaths per million inhabitants per day in a rolling seven-day average between May 12 and May 19, according to

That was the highest in Europe and just above the UK, which had 5.75 deaths per million.

Over the course of the pandemic, Sweden still has fewer deaths per capita than the UK, Spain, Italy, Belgium and France, which have all opted for lockdowns, but much higher than Nordic neighbours Denmark, Norway and Finland.

Sweden’s strategy, mostly based on voluntary measures regarding social distancing and basic hygiene has been criticised by some as a dangerous experiment with peoples lives but also been put forward as a future model by WHO.

Sweden’s open strategy seems to have softened the blow on the economy, with growth shrinking much less than in Denmark and Norway in the first quarter.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Sweden sees rise in coronavirus-related deaths




A new spike in COVID-19 cases in the Swedish capital of Stockholm could signal that residents have started to relax about social distancing recommendations, the country’s health authorities said on Friday.

A total of 1,152 people have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in Sweden. That is an increase of 131 reported deaths in just one day. As of Friday afternoon, the total number of confirmed cases stood at 17,567, an increase of 812 compared to Thursday.

“This could be a sign that we are starting to relax,” epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told Swedish Television on Friday.

Tegnell added that extended testing among medical staff and at elderly care homes could also help explain the rise in confirmed cases. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of admissions to hospitals, where testing is also available to patients with symptoms of COVID-19.

At its daily press briefing on Friday, the Public Health Agency also presented figures over Sweden’s excess mortality, which showed that there were nearly 1,000 more deaths in the last week of March and in the first week of April this year compared to the same period previous years.

Since there are also roughly 1,000 registered COVID-19 deaths, this shows that Sweden has a sound overview of the number of people who died of the disease, Tegnell said. He also insisted that the situation is still serious in Sweden.

“It’s definitely not over, which is clear considering we’re now seeing a slight rise in cases in Stockholm again,” Tegnell said.

Stockholm, the region in Sweden that has been hardest hit by the pandemic, has experienced a string of warm Spring days when many have flocked to bars, cafes, and restaurants.

This prompted Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg to vow to bring in stricter and more frequent inspections of establishments in an effort to make sure they see to it that customers follow social distancing recommendations, for instance by offering table service only and spacing out tables in both indoor and outdoor seating areas.

“Everyone has individual responsibility here. How we act today determines how the healthcare system will cope two weeks from now, Damberg said. “We made it through Easter. Ahead of this weekend, it’s payday for most Swedes and there are a few long weekends ahead. Many have handled the situation well and have canceled trips, but we’re not seeing a clear decline (of the pandemic) yet.”

Damberg’s comments were the latest in a series of warnings from public health experts and politicians over the past week, with Stockholm County Council Finance Commissioner, Irene Svenonius, warning on Thursday that carelessness could cause a dramatic spike in the infection curve.

Stockholm County Medical Officer Per Follin warned that the pandemic is far from over. “Keep a distance and limit the spread of the virus, and we hope this will soon pass,” he said.

Likewise, Stockholm Mayor Anna Konig Jerlmyr warned this week that random restaurant and bar inspections will be carried out all hours of the day and establishments that do do not follow recommendations will be forced to close.

“Unlike in other European cities, we’ve chosen to trust establishments to be able to stay open,” said Konig Jerlmyr. She added that she is getting reports that Stockholmers have started to relax “but the restrictions are not just general tips, they should be followed by everyone at all times”.

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Sweden reports over 2,000 COVID-19 deaths as cases dramatically increase




A total of 16,755 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Sweden, with 751 new cases registered between Wednesday and Thursday. The death toll is now 2,021.

The dramatic rise in confirmed cases over the past day can partly be explained by the fact that testing has been extended among medical staff, said deputy state epidemiologist Anders Wallensten at the Public Health Agency’s daily press briefing.

“We are absolutely not seeing a decline,” Wallensten warned, stressing that the pandemic is far from over and urging all Swedes to stay at home.

During Thursday’s press conference, Wallensten also addressed an error in a mathematical modeling report presented two days earlier. It was retracted and revised and then published anew on Thursday.

“A variable had been set at the wrong value and it affected the entire analysis. Now, the estimated date for the peak of the infection curve has been set at April 8 and not April 15 as was previously said. Also, in Stockholm 26 percent of residents are likely to have been infected by May 1, which is somewhat lower than the previous estimate,” said Wallensten.

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Sweden says Covid-19 deaths over 1,000



Sweden Public Health Agency on Tuesday said it had recorded over 1,000 Covid-19-related fatalities.


According to Anders Tegnell, epidemiologist with the Swedish Public Health Agency,  the reason for many of the deaths in the country of almost 10.3 million was that the novel coronavirus had entered care homes for the elderly .


“It is obvious that there is  an environment that is sensitive to the infection, and that means that when you get the infection into that age group you get many deaths,’’ he said.


As of Tuesday, the agency had recorded 11,445 novel coronavirus cases, and 1,033 Covid-19 fatalities.


The cause for why the infection had spread to care homes, notably in Stockholm, was not apparent.


Neighbouring Norway, which has introduced stricter measures than Sweden, including closing schools and kindergartens, has reported 138 Covid-19 deaths and about 6,600 novel coronavirus cases.


Tegnell said it was difficult to compare different countries and regions since the pandemic was at different stages.


He noted that Belgium that has about the same number of inhabitants has reported over 4,000 Covid-19-related deaths.


Earlier on Tuesday, 22 Swedish-based researchers criticised the Public Health Agency’s approach, and urged politicians to intervene with swift and radical measures.


Schools and restaurants should be shut and all health staff that work with the elderly should have proper protective equipment, and mass testing of health personnel for the virus should be introduced, they said in an op-ed piece in Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter.


Asked to comment, Tegnell said he rejected the claim that the agency lacked a comprehensive strategy.

The critics had also not taken into account that for instance,Italy registers hospital deaths while Sweden’s numbers include deaths in care homes.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Obike Ukoh (NAN)



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Sweden postpones military drill over coronavirus



Sweden’s military on Friday said that a month-long international military exercise, comprising about 25,000 troops, had been postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The “Aurora 20” drill had been scheduled for May 11 to June 4.

However, the military said it would not be held in 2020 but no new date had been announced.

About 22,000 Swedish troops were to have taken part along with about 3,000 troops from almost a dozen other countries, including Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway and the U.S.

The drill would have comprised units from the Swedish Army, Navy, Air Force as well as home guard.

According to the Swedish army officer in charge of the event, Johan Svensson, planning for the drill started several years ago.

The military is now focusing on aiding other sectors of the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, neighbouring Norway called-off a drill in the far North of the country with about 15,000 troops, including 6,000 from other countries, over the coronavirus outbreak.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Abdulfatah Babatunde

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