Sweden has limited to eight per table the number of people sitting together in cafes and restaurants, amid a sharp rise in coronavirus infections.
“We have a very serious situation,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven warned, saying the virus was “going in the wrong direction”.
Sweden has reported 31 Covid deaths since Friday, taking the death toll to 5,969 – far higher than its neighbours.
Unlike them, Sweden has never imposed a nationwide lockdown.
Mr Löfven also announced stricter recommendations – including working from home if possible and avoiding public transport – for another three regions: Halland, Örebro and Jönköping,
This means that about 70% of the country’s 10.5 million people now live under the new government guidelines, which are voluntary.
The head of the Swedish Public Health Agency, Johan Carlson, said he hoped the public could work together to stop the spread of the virus, by complying with national and regional voluntary guidelines, as they did during the spring and summer.
However, he warned Swedes that “we have a long, tough winter in front of us”.
More than 134,000 people have been infected in the Scandinavian country since the start of the pandemic.
The authorities previously advised those groups to avoid all close contact with people they did not live with.
But Sweden’s public health chief said self-isolation had taken a toll on the elderly.
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