Swedish death toll in COVID-19 pandemic passes 15,000

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FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues in Stockholm

STOCKHOLM – Sweden has registered 9 new COVID-19 deaths since Friday, pushing the death toll since the start of the pandemic past 15,000, data showed on Tuesday.

The grim milestone was reached with deaths having started to creep up again after a summer lull in the pandemic, although they remain far below the peak levels seen last winter.

Sweden registered 2,275 new cases since Friday. On Tuesday 25 people were treated at intensive care units, down from 32 one week ago.

While case loads have fluctuated somewhat, the Nordic country has so far not seen a spike in infections of the magnitude recorded in some other European countries, such as Sweden’s Baltic neighbours, in recent weeks.

Around 85% of all Swedes aged 16 and above have received a first vaccine jab and 80% have had two shots or more.

Sweden, which has spurned lockdowns, was hit hard by the first two waves of the pandemic and saw deaths per capita many times higher than in other Nordic countries, although lower than in most European countries.

(Reporting by Johan Ahlander; editing by Niklas Pollard)