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STOCKHOLM, March 30 (Reuters) - The number of Swedes needing intensive care as a result of COVID infection increased 9% compared to last week as the country grapples with a third wave of the virus, health officials said on Tuesday.
Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, registered 16,427 new coronavirus cases since Friday, up from the 14,063 cases during the corresponding period last week.
A total of 1,552 COVID patients were being treated in hospitals. Just over 300 were admitted to intensive care units during the period, an increase of 9% compared to last week.
"The pressure on the healthcare has been high for a long time now," Taha Alexandersson, an official at the National Board of Health and Welfare, told a news conference. "The increased spread indicates it will increase even more."
Earlier on Tuesday the Health Agency recommended the government postpone a plan to ease some restrictions, such raising the limit on the number of visitors to amusement parks, concerts and football matches.
The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 28 new deaths, taking the total to 13,430 . The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.
Sweden's death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours' but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns. (Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Simon Johnson)
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