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Swedish city facing 'worrying' rise in COVID-19 cases

Swedish city facing 'worrying' rise in COVID-19 cases
Health chiefs in Sweden are weighing up new coronavirus restrictions for the city of Stockholm after officials reported "worrying signs of increasing infection".
After Sweden pursued a controversial non-lockdown policy at the start of the pandemic, case numbers have markedly dropped throughout the country in recent months.
But Stockholm health chief Björn Eriksson has warned that the long decline in infections had halted, reports The Telegraph.
READ MORE:Sweden's relaxed lockdown policy 'vindicated'
A file photo of a market in Malmo in Sweden's south that was packed with people at the height of the pandemic.. (AP)
"The downwards trend is broken," he said at a press conference. "We can only hope that this is a blip, that the spread starts decreasing again."
Officials are now considering about bringing in restrictions for Stockholm residents.
"Right now we are in discussions on whether we need to bring in additional restrictions to reduce the spread of infection in Stockholm," state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said.
Figures from the Public Health Agency of Sweden showed about 1200 new cases and five deaths have been reported since Friday, compared with the average of around 200 cases per day over recent weeks.
Swedish cafes such as this one in Gothenburg remained open during the pandemic. (AP)
Unlike most countries, Sweden did not go into a lockdown when the pandemic spread across Europe from March.
Instead, there was an emphasis on personal responsibility, with most bars, schools, restaurants and salons remaining open.
The approach by the Swedish Government brought international criticism it was too lax as the death toll spiralled earlier this year.
Sweden's death rate of 580 fatalities per million people is just behind those of the UK and Italy, and is more than 10 times that of neighbour Norway.
A file photo of students in Stockholm celebrating their high school graduation in the northern summer. (AP)
But since the pandemic peaked in June, case numbers have dropped significantly.
Dr Tegnell would not detail what the potential new measures for Stockholm could be.
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