Stockholm students switch to distance learning amid Sweden COVID-19 surge

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All school pupils aged 14-16 in Sweden's capital Stockholm will switch to remote learning for the rest of this year to help stem a severe second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said on Friday.

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It is the first time Sweden, known as one of the rare Western countries to eschew mandatory lockdowns and masks in response to the pandemic, has recommended distance education for significant numbers of secondary school students.

“We must drastically reduce our contacts, so unfortunately I am forced to recommend that (Stockholm region) municipalities end on-site teaching for students in advanced stage education starting on Monday,” regional infections control chief Maria Rotzen Ostlund said in a statement.

Stockholm has been the Swedish region hardest hit by the COVID-19 respiratory disease, accounting for more than a third of the Nordic country's death toll from the virus.

A further 7,370 new coronavirus cases were registered nationwide on Friday, Health Agency statistics showed, down from 7,935 new infections recorded on Thursday.

An additional 160 deaths were reported, one of the highest daily numbers since the start of the pandemic, taking the total to 7,514. Sweden's death rate per capita is several times higher than that of its Nordic neighbors but lower than several European countries that opted for lockdowns.

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