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Sweden preparing further measures to support COVID-hit companies - DN newspaper

A woman wearing a face mask is seen in a bus stop next to an information sign asking people to keep social distance due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Stockholm, Sweden June 26, 2020. Stina Stjernkvist/TT News Agency/via REUTERS/Files

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s government is preparing new measures to support companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Friday.

The centre-left coalition, supported by two smaller centre-right parties has already rolled out several packages of measures, including subsidies for furloughed employees, tax holidays and lower payroll taxes.

“My opinion is that we need another crisis package in order to support Swedish companies and save jobs,” Andersson said in an interview in daily Dagens Nyheter.

“Many of the measures we launched in spring are still in place and running. But now we see that other companies are being hit.”

Andersson gave few details of planned measures but said that support could go to businesses such as restaurants, shopping malls and cinemas.

Sweden avoided a lockdown in spring, opting mainly for voluntary measures to contain the spread of the virus. It saw more cases and deaths than its Nordic neighbours, but fewer than countries like Spain and Britain.

The number of new cases has picked up again in recent weeks with 2,820 registered on Oct. 28, the highest since the pandemic began, although the lack of testing in spring probably meant the extent of the outbreak then was underestimated.

So far the country has avoided the kind of second wave that has led to fresh lockdowns in France and Germany.

Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Tom Brown