A surge in infections at Swedish hospitals has raised concerns about the nation’s health care system, a public health system that is facing a $1 trillion budget shortfall.
Swedish health officials said Friday they were looking at how to handle the influx of patients.
In Sweden, where a major health care provider, the Swedish Cancer Society, is based, there have been nearly 5,000 new infections in the past six months.
“We had a large influx of people coming into the hospitals, so we had to make a decision,” said Laila Vang, an epidemiologist at the Swedish hospital association, which represents Sweden’s top three hospitals.
Sweden has been grappling with an increase in infections, particularly among patients with cancer, which has surpassed the 1,000-bed threshold.
More than 1,300 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Sweden in the first half of 2018.
In some areas, such as Stockholm and the city of Gothenburg, new infections have jumped nearly 50 percent, the country’s largest city.
Swedish Health Minister Peter Hultqvist said the country should work to contain the new coronaviruses and treat those who become infected.
“I don’t think that there is any way that we can ignore this,” he told The Associated Press.
Hultvring said the government was in the process of examining ways to prevent more infections.
“If we can do this, we have to.”
The new coronajvirus outbreak has been particularly devastating for Sweden’s health system.
It has prompted the country to slash its hospital beds by a third.
The country has also been grappling for years with the issue of immigration and has faced criticism from international health organizations over the long-term consequences of such decisions.
The government said Thursday it would introduce a cap on the number of immigrants it would allow to enter the country.
In March, the government raised the limit to 1 million.