The Swedish government, which has chosen to avoid implementing a full national lockdown, has now moved to cut the size of public gatherings to eight, amid record daily numbers of new cases.
Previously, gatherings of up to a maximum of 300 people were permitted, depending on the type of event, but prime minister Stefan Lofven said Swedes are not sticking to coronavirus recommendations as well as they did in the spring.
"This is the new norm for the entire society," Lofven told a news conference.
"Don't go to gyms, don't go to libraries, don't host dinners. Cancel."
The number of people in Swedish hospitals has also risen as a result of the cases uptick, with recent figures showing the rate of admissions was growing faster than any other European country.
Data from the European Centre of Disease Control showed there were 2,866 people in intensive care in Sweden last week, while the total number of people in hospital was doubling every eight days.
This is a faster rate than both Austria and Slovakia, where hospital admissions are doubling every nine days.
Sweden has registered 15,084 new coronavirus cases since Friday, Health Agency statistics showed on Tuesday – a small decrease compared with the 15,779 cases recorded the corresponding period last week.
Watch: Why hasn’t Sweden gone into lockdown?
The daily death toll from the disease has also climbed after having slowed to single digits during an extended summer lull, when many Swedes gradually began to live their lives more normally.
The figures showed Sweden registered 61 new deaths on Tuesday, taking the total to 6,225.
The country’s death rate per capita is several times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours but lower than in some larger European countries such as Spain.
What was Sweden’s approach?
Sweden is one of just a few countries that did not impose a compulsory lockdown to deal with coronavirus, a decision that has garnered it global attention.
While other countries across Europe brought in tough restrictions that kept people at home, restrictions in Sweden were voluntary.
Restaurants and bars were not closed, people were told to go to work when if they were able to, and the government did not recommend the wearing of face coverings.
Until recently, daily new coronavirus cases remained stable.
People with symptoms were asked – and not forced – to stay at home and self-isolate so businesses and schools could remain open.
The government argued that allowing the population to develop herd immunity – essentially allowing people to catch COVID and recover, developing immunity in the process – was a better strategy than attempting to contain the disease through lockdowns while waiting for a cure.
But critics argued that because COVID is a new disease, it is hard to predict how long any immunity would last, and said up to 70% of a population would need to catch – and recover – from COVID for this approach to be an effective strategy.
Has it worked?
Deaths in Sweden initially spiked at the start of the pandemic, before starting to drop by the middle of April and remaining relatively stable since then.
In total, there have been 6,225 deaths in Sweden, compared with 298 in Norway, 674 in Denmark and 371 in Finland, nearby countries where national lockdowns were introduced.
However, Sweden has a population of roughly 10 million people – around double the population of each of its Nordic neighbours.
Nevertheless, the death rate per capita is several times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours, if somewhat lower than some larger European countries such as Spain.
Norway has seen a recent and sudden spike in new cases, reaching 1,737 on Tuesday, while Denmark has seen a more gradual rise since the start of September.
Daily new cases in Sweden reached 3,756 on Tuesday, although this is a notable drop from the 6,738 figure from last week.
Deaths in Sweden in 2020 are also trending within the 10-year average, according to data from statista.com.
Figures released in August showed that Sweden’s economy fared better than its European cousins, shrinking 8.6% in April to June.
The EU as a whole, where stricter regulations were largely in place, saw its economy shrink by 11.9% in the same period.
Countries where some of the strictest measures were enforced saw substantially larger drops in the economy, including Spain (18.9%), Italy (12.4%) and the UK (20.4%).
Watch: The exceptions for going outside during England's second national lockdown