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Coronavirus: Sweden to ban sale of alcohol after 10pm to curb virus spread

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Stefan Lofven gives a news conference on new restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, in Stockholm, Sweden, Wednesday Nov. 11, 2020
Stefan Lofven gives a news conference on new restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, in Stockholm, Sweden, Wednesday Nov. 11, 2020   -   Copyright  Henrik Montgomery / TT via AP
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Sweden's prime minister said his government would propose to ban the sale of alcohol after 10 pm in restaurants and bars from November 20 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Sweden “currently is risking a situation like the one we had last spring," said Stefan Lofven at a press conference on Wednesday.

The country has witnessed record numbers of new infections over the past few weeks.

“All indications point in the wrong direction,” Lofven said at a joint news conference with Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren.

Sweden was heavily criticised for what some saw as a relaxed approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring.

Unlike its neighbours, Sweden did not institute a nationwide lockdown or tough restrictions, instead keeping bars and restaurants open.

Hallengren says that all places with a permission to serve alcohol must close 30 minutes after 10 pm. She said bars and night clubs were “risk environments.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Stockholm reintroduced a ban on visiting care homes after a coronavirus spike was reported in retirement facilities in the capital.

Some have said that by watering down restrictions, the country may have avoided the "Covid fatigue" in other countries.

Sweden, a country of just over 10 million, has reported 166,707 cases and 6,082 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Lofven was self-isolating just last week after being in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

He said at the time that the country's epidemic was "going in the wrong direction fast. More are infected. More die. This is a serious situation."