SWEDEN is set to introduce local restrictions as coronavirus cases begin to rise across the country after it shunned lockdown.

The nation has been championed by lockdown sceptics as a display of how governments could weather the pandemic storm without using draconian measures.

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Restaurants, bars and shops stayed open in the spring as many countries shut down their economy – but the now Stockholm appears to be changing its tactics.

Dr Johan Nojd, who leads the infectious diseases department in Uppsala, told The Telegraph, said: "It's more of a lockdown situation – but a local lockdown.

He is due to meet with Sweden's leading health officials on Monday to discussing implementing the new coronavirus measures.

Rules suggested being introduced include telling people to stop meeting the vulnerable and urged to avoid public transport.

Dr Nojd also said that if contact tracing shows further links between activities and infections they will not hesitate to impose even tougher measures.

He added: "Perhaps tomorrow we will have several talking about concerts or restaurants and then perhaps one could say, 'in Uppsala now for two or three weeks it is the Public Health Agency's advice not to sit in restaurants late at night'."

Sweden – which has a population of 10million, only slighter bigger than London – has seen coronavirus cases creeping up since the middle of September.

A two week total of 85 cases per 100,000 people has been reported by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

The organisation has marked Sweden with an "orange" alert as they called for coordinated action by European nations to stop a surge in cases.

Some 970 new cases were detected on Wednesday, Sweden's highest figure since June.

Europe now accounts for 34 out of every 100 new coronavirus infections worldwide as the global daily tally reached a new high of 400,000.


Bitte Brastad, chief legal officer at Sweden's public health agency, described the new measures as "something in between regulations and recommendations".

They will not feature draconian fines for non-compliance however as many nations, such as the UK, have introduced to get people to obey the rules.

Sweden has so far recorded 103,200 cases and 5,918 deaths as it attempted an alternative strategy to beat coronavirus.

Dr Joacim Rocklov, professor of epidemiology at Umea University, told the Telegraph this new plan showed Sweden was having to switch gears.

He said: "What's happened in the last couple of weeks is a movement towards a similar model to what has been used in Norway and many other countries.

"It's very obvious that it's a new strategy, but still the newspapers report on 'the Swedish strategy' as if it were fixed in March."

Dr Rocklov said that he believed that the resurgence in infections in Stockholm has challenged health authorities belief that herd immunity would work.

He said: "I think they must have been shocked by that, after all these strong claims that we were closing in on immunity in April and May. They must have realised that that's not really the case."

Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said on Thursday that the autumn surge in infections had changed they way they understood the virus.

He said: "I think the obvious conclusion is that the level of immunity in those cities is not at all as high as we have, as maybe some people, have believed," he said.

"I think what we are seeing is very much a consequence of the very heterogeneous spread that this disease has, which means that even if you feel like there have been a lot of cases in some big cities, there are still huge pockets of people who have not been affected yet."

Stockholm University maths professor Tom Britton found that even with 20 per cent of a city's population immune – measures still have to rolled out to stop the virus.

He said: "Immunity is a little bit on our on our side, but there is still a substantial risk for future outbreaks in Sweden.

"If we did not care anything about any restrictions or preventive measures, then I think we would see a big second wave, not as big as in the spring, but still a big one."

Sweden had boasted its strategy had been "vindicated" at the start of September as it saw consistently low cases throughout the summer.

Sweden’s government aimed to "solve the crisis with as few negative consequences as possible for people’s lives and health".

Rather than carry out a strict lockdown, it issued numerous guidelines to help people through the coronavirus pandemic such as staying home if they were ill, washing hands and social distancing.

But it says that its general guidelines were not binding and only a recommendation.

Meanwhile no businesses were forced to shut down, as Sweden wanted to limit the impact on its economy.

Europe however has reported up to 140,000 new cases a day over the past week – reporting more daily cases than India, Brazil and the US.

It comes as the continent moves into the winter, with colder temperatures and more time indoors expected to fuel the rise.

Some one million new infections are being reported every nine days in Europe, according to analysis by Reuters.

Britain, France, Russia, the Netherlands, and Spain accounted for almost half of Europe's new cases in the week to October 18.

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