STOCKHOLM, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The Swedish government decided on Thursday that, as of next week, municipalities across the country will have the mandate to restrict access to public spaces such as parks and beaches.
Local restrictions can be introduced in the event of a high rate of transmission in a municipality and if there is a risk of many people gathering in certain places, TT news agency reported.
Individuals who ignore the rules risk a fine of 2,000 SEK (237 U.S. dollars).
When the amendment to the Restriction Regulation comes into effect on March 11, zoos, museums and art galleries will also be subject to the same rules as shops and gyms. Under the new rules, they can remain open as long as they limit the number of visitors and minimize the risk of crowds gathering.
By Thursday, Sweden has recorded more than 680,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the total number of deaths has risen to 12,977. Meanwhile, the Public Health Agency said that they have removed the recommendation not to vaccinate those aged 65 and older with the vaccine from AstraZeneca.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 258 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 76 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Tuesday. (1 U.S. dollar = 8.43 SEK)