Did Sweden follow the right coronavirus strategy? Former Prime Minister comments
Sweden could have done better in dealing with coronavirus, but just like many countries around the world, Stockholm learned a lesson, said former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt when asked whether his country succeeded or failed in dealing with COVID-19.
At the height of the pandemic, in early April, 2,500 people died during a single week in Sweden, far above the country’s average.
Unlike most other countries in Western Europe, Sweden opted against severe lockdown measures, keeping most schools and nearly all businesses open while seeking to leverage mostly voluntary restrictions and recommendations on social distancing.
Asked about whether he would have done things differently, Bildt said he cannot know because “the science wasn’t clear and the country is facing something it hasn’t dealt with before.”
“If we look back on what happened, maybe we’d be able to say that we should’ve implemented stricter measures, but if we’re talking about a full lockdown, I’m not sure, countries took different measures – maybe it would have protected the elderly and brought a more positive outcome,” Bildt told Al Arabiya.
Sweden’s approach has divided opinion, with criticism focusing on the relatively high number of deaths from the disease, especially among nursing home residents. Sweden registered 35 new deaths on Monday, bringing the total to 4,694.
According to Bildt, the responsibility “essentially” falls on the government.
“Individuals generally will behave irresponsibly in such a situation. People were counting on the recommendations of the government, and the government decided to take this approach,” the European Council on Foreign Relations co-chair said.
Sweden has recorded COVID-19 deaths many times higher per capita than the rest of the Nordic countries combined, but also far lower than those of hard-hit countries such as Britain, Italy, and Spain.
“Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam are probably the countries which did their best. The rest all learned a lesson,” said Bildt.
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