March 9, 2020 / 1:41 PM / 24 days ago

UPDATE 1-Swedish finance minister says money available to combat coronavirus

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STOCKHOLM, March 9 (Reuters) - Money is available for Swedish authorities to combat the coronavirus outbreak should they need it, Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Monday.

“Money should not be the factor preventing necessary measures”, Andersson told Reuters. The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and The Public Health Agency would be the first to be considered, she said.

She also said last week’s forecast, which lowered the outlook for Swedish growth this year by around 0.3 percentage points to 0.8%, still stood despite turmoil in financial markets and measures taken in Italy in recent days.

“That forecast has not been made obsolete by what has happened in the past few days, but of course if this gets bigger and stock market turmoil becomes more extensive, it can of course have a bigger effect than what I had in my forecast,” she said.

Sweden has more than 200 confirmed cases of the virus but has reported no deaths as a consequence of the outbreak, so far.

On Monday, Sweden’s central bank said Martin Floden, one of the deputy governors on the rate-setting board, had tested positive for the virus. He was feeling well and had worked from home since arriving from a holiday in Northern Italy last week. (Reporting by Larry King)

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