Sweden records highest weekly number of COVID-19 cases at workplaces

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STOCKHOLM, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Sweden logged 361 COVID-19 cases at workplaces last week, the highest weekly number since the pandemic broke out, according to the Swedish Work Environment Authority's statistics on Monday.

Swedish Television (SVT) quoted Ulrika Scholander, section manager at the Swedish Work Environment Authority, as saying on Monday that the situation is "worrying."

She said that week 52, or December 21 to 27, saw the highest weekly cases of 283 in 2020.

While the virus keeps spreading in a wider society, Scholander also believes that increased testing contributes as "more people can now discover if they actually have COVID-19."

In Sweden, employers are obliged to report if staff have been exposed to or harmed by the virus at work. Recently, attention has been drawn to several cases in which staff ignored the rules and came to work despite having symptoms, which, among other things, led to dismissal, SVT reported.

"In such cases, we look at whether employers have had functioning and sufficient routines to prevent the spread of infection, but if an employee actively chooses not to follow the routines, the employer has not breached work environment responsibility, and then it will rather be a criminal investigation for the police," Scholander told SVT.

According to the authority, due to the spread of the coronavirus, many have been recommended to work from home, while others need to work in the healthcare sector and other services essential to society. But employers are responsible for systematically investigating and preventing health and safety risks at workplaces.

The latest statistics published by the Swedish Public Health Agency showed that until Friday a total of 523,486 people in the country have been infected with COVID-19, and 10,323 people have died of the disease.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccinations are underway in Sweden and some other countries.

Meanwhile, 236 candidate vaccines are being developed worldwide -- 63 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by WHO on Jan. 12. Enditem

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