As virus deaths rise, Sweden sticks to ‘low-scale’ lockdown

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A recent article in Vanity Fair looked at how Sweden is attempting to flatten the curve and beat the coronavirus pandemic without going on lockdown.

USC Professor Joel Hay joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss the article.

Sweden is pursuing relatively liberal policies to fight the coronavirus pandemic, even though there has been a sharp spike in deaths.

Swedish government representatives on Friday defended the country’s strategy in the fight against the new coronavirus, which compared to many other countries, stands out for placing fewer restrictions on the public.

“The difference between the approach in Sweden and in other countries is not very big. It’s mainly the tone that we deal with,” said Johan Carlson, General Director of Sweden’s Public Health Agency.

“Rather than saying ‘you need to stay at home, you’re not allowed to do that and that’ we are trying to explain to the population why this should be done, the reason for it and also the rationale for doing certain things,” he added.

So far, Sweden has banned gatherings larger than 50 people, closed high schools and universties, and urged those over 70 or otherwise at greater risk from the virus to self-isolate.

The softer approach means that schools for younger children, restaurants and most businesses are still open, creating the impression that Swedes are living their lives as usual.

However, foreign minister Ann Linde, who spoke alongside Carlson at Friday’s briefing in Stockholm, dismissed the idea that life goes on as normal in Sweden, calling it “a myth.”

“Many people stay at home and have stopped travelling. Many businesses are collapsing. Unemployment is expected to rise dramatically,” Linde said.

“There is no full lockdown of Sweden, but many parts of Swedish society have shut down,” she argued.

Sweden has so far reported more than 13,200 positive cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and 1,400 deaths.

The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.


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