Coronavirus: Stockholm Police Prepare for Civil Unrest at Overstretched Hospitals

An armed police officer stands guard after an object exploded next to a police station in Rosengard in Malmo, Sweden on January 17, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / TT News Agency / Johan NILSSON / Sweden OUT (Photo credit should read JOHAN NILSSON/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 20 police officers with specialised crowd control training will be stationed at hospitals in the Swedish capital in case of unrest if intensive care beds run out.

Cases of coronavirus, along with deaths from it, continue to surge in Sweden. The Swedish Intensive Care Register has noted that 469 people in Sweden have been or are currently in intensive care due to the Chinese virus.

While hospitals are currently managing to cope with an influx of coronavirus patients, local authorities are preparing for scenarios in which they become overwhelmed, with predictions the intensive care unit (ICU) in Stockholm will run out of capacity in the coming weeks.

According to a report by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, police in Stockholm are preparing for potential unrest and rioting in the city’s hospitals due to a lack of ICU capacity.

Ulf Bajas of the Stockholm Police confirmed operations were underway to keep hospitals secure. But he refused to give details, instead saying: “What we are doing now is that we are securing, we have a security-creating mission.”

“We should be able to handle order disturbances. We see the opportunity to appear a little more and be prepared if it gets messy or something,” he added.

The heavily-migrant populated no-go suburbs of Rinkeby-Kista and Spånga-Tensta are the areas of Stockholm most affected by the Chinese virus, having the most coronavirus cases per capita. Members of the local Somali community have been overrepresented in the death toll.

No-go areas can be particularly volatile. Riots repeatedly occur in suburbs like Rinkeby where, in 2017, shops were looted and cars set on fire after the arrest of a local man.

Sweden has also put in place measures to prioritise intensive care beds in the case that the system becomes overwhelmed with elderly patients likely to be left to die in favour of younger patients who are more likely to recover from severe cases of the disease.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.