Sweden recorded its highest number of deaths from coronavirus in three weeks, with an additional 147 deaths.
This comes as Swedish authorities plan to permanently hire up to 10,000 more people to fill gaps in care for the elderly exposed to the virus.
Coronavirus deaths in Sweden have fluctuated over the past week, with numbers falling dramatically before a huge increase in new deaths today.
Sweden recorded highest number of coronavirus deaths in three weeks, with 147 more deaths, numbers have fluctuated in recent days
The country also recorded 637 new cases of coronavirus, for a total of 27,909 cases. Sweden does not impose strict lockdown seen across Europe
On May 10, the country reported only 5 new deaths and 348 new cases, but the extremely low numbers were short-lived as their cases started to increase again.
The 147 deaths recorded today bring the total number of coronavirus deaths in Sweden to 3,460.
It also recorded 637 new cases of coronavirus, reaching a total of 27,909 cases during the pandemic.
The last wave of coronavirus deaths in Sweden took place on April 21, with 185 deaths and 545 new cases.
It was also announced today that Swedish authorities and unions will permanently hire up to 10,000 additional nursing assistants and caregivers to address shortcomings in care for the elderly.
The increase in staff is the result of an agreement between the government, Sweden’s largest union Kommunal, and the country’s municipalities responsible for managing care for the elderly.
The last wave of coronavirus deaths in Sweden took place on April 21, with 185 deaths and 545 new cases. In the photo, a healthcare worker cleans and disinfects an ambulance after dropping off a patient in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Danderyd Hospital near Stockholm on May 13
“The virus epidemic has shown that care for the elderly is vulnerable and this has structural explanations,” Health Minister Lena Hallengren told reporters.
“It’s basically about the staff conditions,” added Hallengren.
Half of the more than 3,300 deaths from COVID-19 reported in Sweden involve residents of nursing homes and another quarter of people receiving home care.
The lack of protection for vulnerable residents of nursing homes has been widely debated in the Nordic country.
Some critics blamed the working conditions of staff, according to reports that many had to work without protective equipment.
The Swedish authorities will permanently hire up to 10,000 additional nursing assistants and caregivers to address shortcomings in care for the elderly. Pictured workers dismissed during pandemic are retrained to work in hospitals and care homes in Stockholm
In March, Kommunal said that 40% of staff at nursing homes in Stockholm – the epicenter of the Swedish epidemic – were short-term, unskilled workers with hourly wages and no job security, while that 23% were temporary workers.
They were people who often could not afford not to go to work even if they were sick, they argued.
The latest hiring deal follows an announcement by the government on Tuesday to hire 2.2 billion Swedish kronor (£ 184 million) to allow social workers to receive paid on-the-job training.
The government has announced that this has now been supplemented by an agreement between the union and public employers, which would mean that trained workers will be offered a permanent contract.
The country has not imposed the stringent foreclosure measures seen across Europe, instead urging people to take responsibility and follow official recommendations.