300,000 Swedes have impaired sense of smell due to Covid-19: Report

Sweden has seen a slight increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases since restrictions were lifted on Sept 30.
Sweden has seen a slight increase in the number of new Covid-19 cases since restrictions were lifted on Sept 30.PHOTO: AFP

STOCKHOLM (XINHUA) - An estimated 300,000 Swedes suffer from an impaired sense of smell due to Covid-19, Swedish national TT News Agency reported on Sunday (Oct 24).

According to the report, queues are long for clinics that offer treatment for loss of smell in the country. With around 10 million inhabitants, Sweden has only two such clinics, of which the newest opened in September at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge near the capital city of Stockholm.

"We get patients from all over Sweden. I'm contacted from all sides," Ms Charlotte Cervin-Hoberg, a biomedical analyst at Lund University, was reported in Norway Today as saying.

The clinics used to treat loss of smell due to other causes , including infections, head injuries and neurological diseases, but most people seeking help now are Covid-19 patients.

Those previously infected with Covid-19 have also reportedly experienced a distorted sense of smell and taste.

Ms Eva Hoglund, who was infected with the virus in April 2020, told Norway Today that other than vanilla ice cream, most things tastes and smells like cigarette butts or rotten meat to her.

"I look at strawberries, but it smells so bad that I almost throw up," she said.

According to the latest statistic released by the Swedish Public Health Agency on Friday, nearly 1.166 million coronavirus cases had been confirmed since the pandemic started. The total number of deaths was approaching 15,000.

The country has seen a slight increase in the number of new cases since the restrictions, such as limited number of participants in public spaces and restaurants, were lifted on Sept 30 together with the advice to wear face masks and if possible work from home, but there are currently no plans to tighten restrictions.

However, rules about testing are still in force, although these will be relaxed on Nov 1, and those who have not been vaccinated are advised to take the same preventive measures as before.

Meanwhile, 84.7 per cent of the population aged 16 and older had received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 80.1 per cent had received two doses.

Sweden, which opted against wide-ranging lockdowns throughout the pandemic, has relatively low levels of cases, hospitalisations and deaths compared with other European countries.