Sweden should have done more to combat the coronavirus and prevent a much higher national COVID-19 death rate than in neighbouring countries, the man behind the Public Health Agency’s pandemic strategy says.
Nearly 4500 Swedes have died in the outbreak, a higher mortality rate than in Denmark, Norway and Finland, and criticism has been growing over the government’s decision not to impose lockdown measures as strictly as elsewhere in Europe.
Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, said that in hindsight Sweden should have done more.
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden checks his mobile phone during a news conference on a daily update on the coronavirus Covid-19 situation, in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 27, 2020. (Pontus Lundahl / TT)
“If we were to run into the same disease, knowing exactly what we know about it today, I think we would end up doing something in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done,” Tegnell told Swedish radio.
“Yes, I think we could have done better in what we did in Sweden, clearly.”
While most of Europe, including Norway, Denmark and Finland, closed schools, shops and businesses, bringing much of society to a halt, Sweden has relied more on voluntary measures, social distancing and common-sense hygiene advice to stem the outbreak.
People enjoy the warm evening weather in Malmo, Sweden, Tuesday May 26, 2020. (Johan Nilsson/TT via AP)