Today in Sweden: a roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Today in Sweden: a roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Centre Party leader Annie Lööf arriving at parliament for the party leader debates. Lööf tested positive for Covid-19 later that day. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
Find out what's going on in Sweden today with The Local's short roundup of the news in less than five minutes.

Sweden pledges to compensate homeowners for record-high energy bills

In a press conference yesterday, Finance Minister Mikael Damberg and Energy Minister Khashayar Farmanbar announced plans to offer compensation to homeowners after historically high energy bills this winter.

The compensation will be based on consumption rather than income, with the maximum offered to those using more than 2,000 kWh per month. The maximum amount of cash back will be 2,000 kronor per month ($223), so it will be capped at a total of 6,000 kronor.

Households that consume less electricity than 2,000 kWh per month will also be able to get money back, but not as much. The exact amount will be based on a sliding scale, but it is not clear exactly how it will work.

Here is what we know so far about who will benefit.

Swedish vocabulary: elpriskompensation – compensation for electricity prices

Centre Party Leader Annie Lööf tests positive for Covid-19

Annie Lööf announced that she had tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday evening via Twitter, saying: “I feel completely symptom-free, but tested positive this evening via a quick test.”

She further explained that she chose to test herself after someone who she had met at the end of last week began to show symptoms and tested positive. 

“I am following the recommendations in place, isolating myself and my family, and will take a PCR test as soon as there are available times. As I said, I’m doing fine and have no symptoms, but I trust the quick test and am limiting my contacts to my family.”

Lööf was in parliament earlier on Wednesday for the first party leader debate of the year.

Swedish vocabulary: snabbtest – quick test

Omicron may be the way out of the pandemic, experts say

Omicron is more infectious than earlier variants, but does not appear to cause as serious illness.

Magnus Gisslén, professor in infectious diseases at Gothenburg University, told SVT’s Morgonstudion today that he believes infection rates will reach a peak within a few weeks, and that Omicron will contribute towards achieving herd immunity.

“When enough people have been infected, and many who have been vaccinated have had minor cases, infection rates will decrease as the virus will not have as many people to infect,” he told SVT.

“I believe that we should reevaluate this illness soon, and that it should no longer be classified as a danger to public health,” he said.

Niklas Arnberg, professor of virology at Umeå University believes that the term ‘herd immunity’ has changed during the pandemic.

“Vaccines don’t protect as well from Omicron, which is extremely infectious. We are going to need to live with the virus, and cannot immunise it away,” Arnberg said to SVT Morgonstudion. “I don’t think we will need restrictions by late spring, but I can’t speculate an exact date”.

Swedish vocabulary: flockimmunitet – herd immunity

Man accused of burning down Gävle goat to appear in court

Proceedings start today against the man accused of burning down Gävle’s famous (or infamous?) Christmas goat, SVT reports.

The 13-metre-high giant straw goat in the Swedish east coast town of Gävle is famous around the world for being set on fire (which, just to be clear, is illegal!). Since its inception in 1966, the Gävlebock has burned down 30 times. Prior to 2020, it last burned down in 2016.

Security footage of the goat from early on the morning of December 17th shows a man wearing a grey hoodie crawling through the double fencing around the goat and setting fire to it. The face of the person setting fire to the goat is partially visible in the video footage.

The suspect denies involvement in the crime.

Swedish vocabulary: bockbrännaren – the goat burner

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