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Why we’re (slightly) changing how The Local covers the coronavirus

Why we're (slightly) changing how The Local covers the coronavirus
A quiet Thursday at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
The Local Sweden's editor explains why live reports on the latest coronavirus cases in Sweden aren't as useful as they used to be, and why we are stepping up our focus on the impact the virus is having on readers' lives, and what practical measures to take.

Hej,

Our main mission during the coronavirus situation has been to keep you as informed as we possibly can. This has included sharing the official advice and keeping essential updates paywall-free, the latest news and keeping an up-to-date list of what we know about Sweden's patients and how they contracted the virus.

I think the time has come to focus slightly less on the latest statistics and more on the practical measures we can all take to help prevent the virus from spreading too quickly.

That's partly thanks to reader feedback, partly because I think articles that explain the situation and what to do, rather than a constant stream of updates on new confirmed cases, are probably more useful to all of you, and partly because it is starting to get harder to make sure the statistics are fully accurate.

I'll explain why.

From today, Stockholm will no longer be testing all suspected cases of the coronavirus. Up until now their focus was on testing each and every one who returned from a high-risk area with symptoms, and then tracing all their contacts to stop the virus from spreading.

Now that we have had the first signs of so-called community infection, when the virus is starting to spread in Sweden (this is not the case for all of Sweden, only the Västra Götaland and Stockholm regions), health authorities believe this is no longer the best approach.

Instead, Stockholm will focus on protecting the elderly and people in hospital with underlying health conditions, so the testing will mainly be limited to those at-risk groups from now on.

The vast majority of patients get only a mild version of the virus and don't need treatment, but it is crucial that they don't pass the virus on to other people who may be worse affected.

This means that if you experience any symptoms of the coronavirus (such as a fever and a cough), however mild, you are urged to stay at home and not use public transport. If your health deteriorates, you should of course call health services. Here are the numbers to call.

Sweden confirmed its first coronavirus death yesterday, an elderly patient who contracted the virus inside the country, so it is important that we help protect the most vulnerable.

I know there are plenty of stories that matter to our international readers in Sweden. The latest news, potential school closures, unemployment laws if you're laid off, how healthcare works, what it's like being cut off from family amid travel bans and flight cancellations, and so much more. We are doing our best to make sure that your stories are heard. If you have any questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to email.

As always, you can read all The Local's latest articles here.

Thank you for reading,

Emma Löfgren
Editor, The Local Sweden


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