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Health News

Swedish Health Agency approves limited soccer crowds

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden speaks during a news conference updating on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation, in Stockholm, Sweden August 27, 2020. TT News Agency/Janerik Henriksson via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish concert goers and soccer fans can be allowed back in venues from October after the country’s Health Agency accepted a government proposal to raise the limit for some events to 500 from the current 50.

With the number of new infections and COVID-19 deaths falling in Sweden, the government said last week it planned to introduce exceptions to the 50-person maximum for events from Oct. 1.

In March, Sweden limited public gatherings to 50 people to halt the spread of the virus, effectively preventing theatres, soccer clubs and concerts from being able to bring in revenues from the public.

“The proposal relates to events where there are numbered seats,” the Agency’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told reporters, adding that people should be seated at least one metre apart.

He said the effects of the changes would be evaluated “and if it works well, the limit can be raised”.

Swedish soccer teams have lobbied for rules that allow attendance as a proportion of a stadium’s maximum capacity rather than a fixed number of people.

But the health agency rejected that model, saying higher numbers would cause unacceptable crowding on public transport.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Ken Ferris

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