Television staff

Swedish police and transport sector report massive staff shortages

Stockholm, Jan 20 (IANS): Following the resurgence of Covid-19 in Sweden, the country’s police and transport are experiencing a massive shortage of personnel, as many have been infected with the virus.

“All employers and organisations, including essential services, are under pressure,” Svante Werger of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Ten percent of Sweden’s police force, or some 3,000 people, were on sick leave or in solitary confinement on Wednesday, Radio Sweden reported.

Some smaller police stations even had to close.

“The situation is tense in some constituencies and we are on the verge of not being able to keep the business running,” Patrik Danielsson, health and safety representative at the Swedish Police Union, told Radio Sweden. .

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the National Operations Department told Swedish television that the police force was ready to transfer personnel and reprioritize to deal with the situation.

Swedish TV also reported that around 10% of bus drivers are on sick leave in the Varmland region, leading to the cancellation of 40 to 50 departures per day.

“It’s a serious situation,” Mikael Bergman, traffic manager for the regional bus service, told Swedish television.

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant was also reflected in the latest statistics released by the Swedish Public Health Agency on Wednesday.

The cumulative number of confirmed infections exceeded 1.7 million, an increase of around 200,000 in just one week.

On Wednesday, the agency also recorded the highest daily number of new infections – nearly 43,000 out of a population of 10.4 million.

The number of people tested for Covid-19 has also increased dramatically.

Several administrative regions across the country have reached their maximum testing capacity and have therefore urged the public to only get tested when strictly necessary.

On Tuesday, several health professionals, including the president of the Stockholm Medical Association, said testing had become “meaningless” as virtually everyone with symptoms is infected and test results now take up to one week.