Sweden unveils record-high corona budget
Regional and local structures capable of acting quickly on signals of outbreaks will be central in curbing the spread of Covid-19 in 2021
- September 08, 2020 12:00
Sweden's centre-left government and its allies in Parliament have earmarked, starting next year, nearly 12 billion kronor for the healthcare and elderly care sectors which have been hit hard by the corona pandemic. Unveiling the budget pledge at a press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven called it a “historic one” for the welfare system.
The government's 2021 budget proposal envisages a permanent annual investment of 4 billion kronor to improve elderly care. Another 1.7 billion kronor will be added to a previously announced package intended to attract new and skilled staff to elderly care, bringing total allocations for the sector to 7.4 billion kronor (714 341 610 euro) in 2021.
4 billion kronor annually will also be pumped into Sweden's healthcare sector over the next two years to temper spending increases and deficits due to planned surgeries being postponed in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 budget will be officially presented in a few weeks' time.
Quick-response structures to battle local outbreaks
Meanwhile, Sweden’s Public Health Agency has drafted new initiatives within a government-assigned ”Plan for possible new outbreaks of Covid-19.” Foreseeing a relatively low general spread of Covid-19 in Sweden over the next year combined with local outbreaks, PHA said that it will keep its national recommendations to a minimum, allowing local authorities to tighten measures in the event of outbreaks.
Quickly combating local outbreaks of Covid-19 is central to avoiding the spread of infection. A prerequisite for this will be the presence of clear regional and local structures to handle outbreaks and coordinate different actors, for example, local transport and school managements, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said on the Agency’s website.
Effective monitoring combined with good testing and infection tracking capacity will continue to be key tools for early detection of outbreaks and stemming the spread of infection. For the general public, the importance of distancing, staying home in case of illness and good hand hygiene form the backbone of the pandemic fight regardless of the situation. In situations with increased local or regional spread of infection, face coverings can have a value where other measures have failed, added Tegnell.
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