Half of Stockholm trains cancelled due to staff shortages

Stockholm, Jan 29 (IANS): Half of all trains scheduled to travel to and via Stockholm this weekend have been cancelled due to severe staff shortages.

"The Swedish Transport Administration has never before had to cancel so many departures due to illness within the staff groups, despite two years of a pandemic," Bengt Olsson, press officer of the organisation, said on Friday.

The cancellations affect all trains: long-distance lines, commuter lines and freight trains at least until early on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.

As Stockholm is an important hub for train traffic, the cancellations will also affect destinations north as well as south of the Swedish capital city.

Olsson did not elaborate on the nature of the many sick leaves, but the Omicron Covid-19 variant is wreaking havoc in the country, affecting critical services whose staff are off sick or in quarantine due to a household member being infected.

To keep services running, the government last week announced new rules, including a quarantine exemption for unvaccinated individuals with key functions specified by the Civil Contingencies Agency.

The cumulative number of confirmed infections in Sweden has increased to 2,070,456, while the death toll stood at 15,820.

Meanwhile, a lack of testing capacity means not all cases have been detected and the Public Health Agency has said that the real number of new weekly infections is currently around half a million.

Despite the escalating spread of Covid-19, authorities on Wednesday said most restrictions may be lifted on February 9 as they expect the number of new infections to drop dramatically then.



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Title: Half of Stockholm trains cancelled due to staff shortages

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