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Swedish city using chicken manure to deter crowds from local park

As countries around the world continue look for ways to encourage citizens to practice social distancing, one Swedish city has come up with a pungent solution to keep people apart: spreading chicken manure in a local park. 

The Swedish city of Lund, a destination in the South of the country best known for its prestigious university, has recently spread the poultry byproduct in its central park, according to Reuters. Lund dumped the manure to discourage the public from congregating in the area on Thursday for Walpurgis Night.

Walpurgis Night is a holiday celebrated in Northern Europe and Scandinavia on April 30, according to Encyclopædia Britannica. The festivity marks the transition from cold winter days to the warmer spring and summer temperatures, Reuters said.

In Sweden, revelers usually celebrate the holiday by singing traditional spring folk songs and lighting bonfires, among other activities. However, it appears Lund residents and visitors will have to do so in private this year.

"This is a park where usually 30,000 people gather, but with COVID-19 this is now unthinkable," Philip Sandberg, the town's mayor, told Reuters. "We don't want Lund to become an epicentre for the spread of the disease."

Authorities have asked people not to gather together on the holiday — but have not outright forbidden celebrations, Reuters reported. However, they are worried that the city's many students and other young people will still press on with their plans to celebrate in the park.

"Most students in Lund and other parts of Sweden respect the recommendations ... although even a small number of people still going to the park can become a big risk," Sandberg told Reuters. 

Sweden has approached the coronavirus crisis with a different strategy than much of the world. The country has not instated a lockdown or closed its bars and restaurants, though it did issue regulations urging social distancing in such establishments and banned mingling at bar counters, reports Reuters. However, gatherings of more than 50 people as well as visits to senior homes are banned, according to the BBC

The country has instead "put in place a very strong public health policy around physical distancing, around caring and protecting for people in long-term facilities and many other things," World Health Organization emergency director Mike Ryan told CBS News

"What it has done differently," said Ryan, "is that it's very much relied on its relationship with its citizenry and the ability and willingness of citizens to implement physical distancing and to self-regulate."

The country has seen less cases than many of its European neighbors, with 21,092 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 2,500 deaths, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University

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