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Sweden scrapped almost all of its few remaining pandemic restrictions on Wednesday and stopped most testing for COVID-19, even as pressure on the healthcare systems remained high and some scientists begged for more patience in fighting the disease.

Sweden’s government, which throughout the pandemic has opted against lockdowns in favor of a voluntary approach, announced last week it would scrap the remaining restrictions — effectively declaring the pandemic over — as vaccines and the less severe omicron variant have cushioned severe cases and deaths.

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