Sweden pauses plan to allow bigger sports crowds as infections rise

FILE PHOTO: Lena Hallengren, minister for health and social affairs, and Johan Carlson, director general for the Swedish Public Health Agency (not pictured) hold a news conference about restrictions for vulnerable 70+ citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak, in Stockholm, Sweden May 26, 2020. TT News Agency/Claudio Bresciani via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden will postpone plans to let more people attend sport events and concerts, the government said on Thursday, citing rising coronavirus infection numbers both within the country and around Europe.

The government said in August it intended to raise the limit for some events to 500 from the current 50. However, with case numbers clearly rising within Sweden, the government said it would have to postpone the move.

“Sweden has left the low levels we saw during the summer,” Lena Hallengren, Minister for Health and Social Affairs, told a news conference. “Our assessment is that changes are not appropriate at this point.”

Cases have been rising over the past month, and Sweden registered 752 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday last week, the highest daily rise since June. [L8N2GS48T]

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.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Hugh Lawson