STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Sweden set a new daily record for COVID-19 cases, registering 11,507 cases on Dec. 30, health agency data showed on Tuesday, as a fourth wave of the virus swept across the country and put healthcare under renewed pressure.
The daily infection figures are typically revised up somewhat as any delayed records of additional cases are added to the national total for a given day. The previous record of 11,376 cases was set in late December 2020.
The fresh wave of COVID-19 cases, in part driven by the more contagious Omicron variant, hit Sweden later than its Nordic neighbours, but has in recent weeks resulted in a sharp rise in cases and hospitalisations.
For the four-day period from Friday through Monday, 42,969 new cases and 20 deaths were registered, the data showed. Sweden has gained international attention for spurning hard lockdowns throughout the pandemic.
The Health Agency expects Omicron, which is more easily transmitted than other variants, to lead to a new peak in daily cases some time in mid-January.
Sweden tightened restrictions on public gatherings last month and urged all those who can to work from home in an effort to minimise the spread of the virus.
Bars and restaurants will only be able to serve seated guests while the public will also have to be seated at larger events.
(Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Simon Johnson, editing by Helena Soderpalm and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)