STOCKHOLM – Sweden’s Public Health Agency has recommended raising the maximum number of people allowed at public gatherings from 50 to 500, a piece of news that were enthusiastically greeted by organizers of sports and cultural events.
In a consultation response submitted to the government on Thursday, the Public Health Agency also recommended that participants in public events should be seated and keep a one-meter distance from one another in order to minimize the risk of infection.
In a statement published on its website, the Agency pointed out that the 50-person limit imposed in March involved a severe restriction on the right of assembly but that it was necessary in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Restaurants and malls were not subject to the 50-person limit, something that raised criticism from events organizers. Even under the new rules, such organizers will have to keep audience numbers below 500 since the figure includes everyone present at an event. That means musicians giving a concert or football players taking part in a match will be counted as part of the total 500.
The Agency believes that the maximum number of people allowed at public gatherings could be increased at a later point, depending on how the epidemic develops.
As of Thursday afternoon, Sweden has recorded a total of 83,898 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 5,820 deaths. The total number of people admitted to ICU through the course of the pandemic is now 2,564.