Coronavirus situation remains serious, lockdown extended until at least March 2, 2021
As the number of new positive cases per day declines in the Netherlands, new virus variants are gaining ground — causing concerns about a new wave of infections.
Primary schools, daycare will reopen on February 8, minister confirms
Education minister Arie Slob confirmed on Sunday that primary schools and daycare centres will reopen as planned on February 8, but that secondary schools and after-school clubs will remain closed. The decision has been taken on the basis of recommendations by the government’s Outbreak Management Team, which says young children are not more likely to spread the more infectious versions of coronavirus now in circulation, Slob told reporters after a meeting of ministers on Sunday afternoon. The decision to reopen schools, he said, is a responsible one. It is important for children’s social development that they can go back to school and meet their friends, but also for parents who have been doing the difficult job of working from home and supervising lessons, Slob said. But he warned parents to limit their contacts with other parents and ‘not to hang around the school gates’. If a child tests positive for coronavirus, the entire class must go into quarantine and be tested, Slob said. Primary schools will also make more use of fast testing. Fewer positive tests In total, 3,714 positive tests were reported to public health institute RIVM in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, the lowest total since October 1. The figure is below the average for the previous seven days – and further evidence of a declining trend. Since the outbreak, nearly 980,000 people in the Netherlands have tested positive for coronavirus, and the one million milestone is expected in the coming week. Despite the decline in positive tests, Slob said that the situation in the Netherlands remains very worrying. Prime minister Mark Rutte and health minister Hugo de Jonge will hold a press conference on Tuesday evening to outline the latest developments and to say if any more of the current measures, such as the curfew, can be lifted. Ministers said earlier that their priority is to get the schools open again. Read more at
Swe-Cham Member Undutchables is turning 25!
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce congratulates Undutchables with their 25th birthay on February 5th. We would like to thank Undutchables for the pleasant collaboration during the years and we are looking forward to many years to come. A company's history tells it's story. For Undutchables, on our 25th anniversary we want to invite you to relive Undutchables' history by sharing a few glimpses of the past 25 years. Curious about how it all began? Read about our story
COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca authorised for use in the EU
29 January 2021 20:30 GMT
AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has been granted a conditional marketing authorisation (CMA) in the European Union (EU) for active immunisation to prevent COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2, in individuals 18 years of age and older. Following review of the application, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency based its positive opinion on data from a rolling review of trial data from the primary analysis of the Phase III programme led by the University of Oxford. Additional safety and efficacy data for the vaccine will continue to accumulate from ongoing clinical trials and is expected to be published in the coming weeks. The CHMP recommends two doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, formerly AZD1222, to be administered at a four- to 12-week interval in people aged 18 years and older. This dosing regimen was shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with no severe cases and no hospitalisations more than 14 days after the second dose. AstraZeneca is working with the EU following the approval of a CMA for active immunisation to begin across member states. Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Today’s approval underscores the value of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is not only effective and well tolerated, but also easy to administer and, importantly, protects fully against severe disease and hospitalisations. We are deeply grateful to Oxford University, participants in the clinical trials and AstraZeneca colleagues for their unwavering commitment to providing this lifesaving vaccine to millions of Europeans.” Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and Chief Investigator on the Oxford vaccine trials, said: “The approval by the European Commission is an important milestone in extending access to the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine in our region and providing further endorsement that, after the rigorous scrutiny of regulators, the vaccine can be used to help protect populations from the coronavirus pandemic.” AstraZeneca continues to work with regulatory authorities around the world to support their ongoing rolling reviews for emergency supply or conditional approval during the health crisis. AstraZeneca is also seeking Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization for an accelerated pathway to vaccine availability in low-income countries. The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (two-eight degrees Celsius/36-46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least six months and administered within existing healthcare settings. AstraZeneca continues to engage with governments, international organisations and collaborators around the world to ensure broad and equitable access to the vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic. COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, formerly AZD1222 COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca was co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-out company, Vaccitech. It uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body. CHMP’s recommendation was based on an analysis of 23,745 participants aged 18 years and older, accruing 232 symptomatic COVID-19 infections from the UK and Brazil Phase III trials conducted by Oxford University. The safety data published so far is from over 20,000 participants enrolled across four clinical trials in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. The publication in confirmed that COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca was well tolerated and that there were no serious safety events confirmed related to the vaccine. The participants were from diverse ethnic and geographic groups who were healthy or had stable underlying medical conditions. In addition to the programme led by Oxford University, AstraZeneca is conducting a large trial in the US and globally. In total, Oxford University and AstraZeneca expect to enrol up to 60,000 participants globally. The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has already been granted a CMA or emergency use in close to 40 countries, spanning four continents including in the EU, a number of Latin American countries, India, Morocco and the UK. More information: https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2021/covid-19-vaccine-authorised-for-use-in-the-eu.html
Swe-Cham webinar How far have we come with Gender diversity?
On January 26, 2021 The Swedish Chamber of Commerce was very pleased to welcome Marianne Hamilton to discuss her book Advice to my dear daughter, and gender diversity together with an expert panel Ruth de Jager Peter Møllgaard, R. Ruben Brunsveld Marianne Hamilton moderated by Viveka Andersson. Thanks also to our partner Dutch Chamber of Commerce in Sweden for the great collaboration.
Go to Events to read the Key take aways by the Moderator:
SSAB concludes IJmuiden discussions with Tata Steel
SSAB Press Release January 29, 2021
During the fourth quarter of 2020, SSAB announced that it was in discussions with Tata Steel concerning a possible acquisition of the IJmuiden steel mill and related downstream assets. After deeper analysis and discussions, it became clear that there were limited possibilities to integrate IJmuiden into the SSAB strategic framework. Discussions with Tata Steel have therefore concluded.“We have carefully evaluated Tata Steel IJmuiden and have concluded that an acquisition would be difficult for technical reasons. We cannot be sufficiently certain that we could implement our industrial plan with the preferred technical solutions as quickly as we would wish. We cannot align Tata Steel Ijmuiden with our sustainability strategy in the way desired,” says Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO at SSAB. “The synergies that we saw in the transaction would not fully justify the costs and investments required for our desired transformation. This means that overall, the transaction would not meet our financial expectations,” he adds. SSAB is leading the transformation of the steel industry to fossil-free production. The group’s goal is to be the first in the world, in 2026, to supply fossil-free steel to market and to be a fossil-free company by 2045. The rationale behind the discussions concerning Tata Steel IJmuiden was based on our customers’ clear desire for a strong supplier of a broad range of fossil-free steel. Through an expanded range of steel products, which in the long term can be converted to fossil-free products, SSAB can become a more comprehensive supplier of fossil-free steel to existing and new customers in key segments. This has also been about creating synergies between existing operations in the Nordics and in IJmuiden and getting closer to the European market. “The transition to fossil-free steel is a top priority for SSAB. We are continuously on the lookout for possibilities to invest and step up the pace of this transition. Completely fossil-free steel will be a premium segment with great growth potential. We see large demand from customers, primarily within Automotive and Heavy Transport,” says Martin Lindqvist. “I am convinced that SSAB has an important role to play in the industry’s continued transformation and regeneration,” he says. Read more https://www.ssab.com/news/2021/01/ssab-concludes-ijmuiden-discussions-with-tata-steel
Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership changes its name to Nordic Hydrogen Partnership
Nordic Hydrogen Partnership is the new Nordic hydrogen organisation. In a move that symbolises both the rapidly increasing role of hydrogen in the Nordic energy system as well the Partnership’s commitment to expand the use of hydrogen and e-fuels in the entire Nordic region, the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership has become the Nordic Hydrogen Partnership (NHP). The name change is the result of the intensified and extended cooperation between Norsk Hydrogenforum in Norway, Vätgas Sverige in Sweden, Icelandic New Energy in Iceland, Brintbranchen in Denmark and VTT in Finland, who together constitute the members of the NHP. The five coalition partners are strengthening their collaboration and use their expertise to boost the cross-sector implementation of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the Nordics, in close cooperation with a number of industry representatives. Turning ambition into action The past couple of years we have witnessed an acceleration in the use of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the Nordic region, for example marked by the establishment of multiple hydrogen refuelling stations and the introduction of hydrogen cars on the Nordic markets. The Nordic Hydrogen Partnership is determined to push this development to further heights and to quicken its pace. We are therefore happy to have witnessed the development of a huge momentum for incorporation of hydrogen solutions in the Nordics within the last year. With a Finnish roadmap and (upcoming) dedicated hydrogen strategies in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the Nordic Hydrogen Partnership will function as the organisation that helps to translate intentions to action to the benefit of the entire Nordic region. “The new name and the formation of an organization with a cross sector focus on hydrogen and e-fuels development and implementation is an important step for the Nordic hydrogen industry. In the post Covid-19 world, the Nordic countries have a unique opportunity to lead the world to a green recovery. With leadership positions within the field of both wind, hydro and thermal energy, the Nordic region is ideally suited for hydrogen, which will be the link to both economic growth and fighting the climate challenge. The industry is ready, and the new organization is a clear proof of that. We look forward to cooperate with the Nordic institutions as well as all the Nordic governments,” says Tejs Laustsen Jensen, chairman of the Nordic Hydrogen Partnership, and CEO of Brintbranchen. About Nordic Hydrogen Partnership Since 2006 the Nordic Hydrogen Partnership, former Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership (SHHP), consisting of a coalition of regional clusters involving major and small industries, research institutions, and local, regional and national authorities, has worked to coordinate the introduction of hydrogen cars and hydrogen refuelling stations to the Nordic market. More information about the Nordic Hydrogen Partnership and its current projects can be found at
Economic Employer: The ‘Game Changer’ in Sweden’s Tax World
As an employer with assignees in or business travelers in and out of Sweden, or if a company is planning to send assignees to Sweden, it is likely they are aware of a very important change in Sweden’s tax law that came into effect on January 1: the introduction of the economic employer concept. The new regulations around economic employer mean that Skatteverket will now consider factors beyond who pays the employee’s salary when assessing who is the employer of an employee. Days spent working in Sweden will also be critical to determining the mobile employee’s tax liability. Organizations sending employees to Sweden should set up a process as soon as possible to track:
- who is travelling to Sweden,
- how many days are spent in Sweden, and
- what tasks are performed in Sweden.