While the rest of Europe imposes severe restrictions on public life and closes borders and businesses, Sweden is doing the opposite! It has shown a very easy and calm approach to the outbreak of coronavirus and the global war against this pandemic.
In contrast to its close neighbors Denmark, Finland and Norway, Sweden has not closed its borders, nor its schools. It has not closed down even the most essential businesses, nor has it avoided meetings with more than two people as it happens in the US or Germany.
Sweden’s response to the outbreak is being monitored by the country’s Public Health Agency. This country is showing a different approach to the coronavirus than all other international factors, trusting the public to take voluntary measures, that is, softer ones to curb the spread of the virus.
This apparent ‘laissez-faire’ approach has sparked much controversy, even in Sweden, from a group of epidemiologists, as well as from other countries that are blocking public life to curb the outbreak. The chief epidemiologist of the Public Health Agency and a leading figure in Sweden’s national response to coronavirus is Anders Tegnell. He told CNBC that although his country’s strategy to fight the virus was different, the goal was the same. “My view is that basically all European countries are trying to do the same thing. We are trying to slow the spread as much as possible to keep health and society functioning and we have shown several different methods for slow down the spread, “he told CNBC.
He also added that the public health agency had explained to the population why social distancing is needed, and so far this is working reasonably well. Sweden has 3,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus and has registered 110 deaths, official figures from the Public Health Agency show. The situation is quite different in Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s explosion, which has almost 100,000 cases and more than 10,000 deaths. Spain, the second-most-hit country in Europe, has nearly 80,000 confirmed cases and 6,500 deaths.
The US, believed to be nearly two weeks behind Italy in the outbreak, has recorded almost 20,000 cases and 1,228 deaths from the virus. “The trend (in infection and death rates) in Sweden is less steep than in many countries and that is exactly what we are trying to achieve,” Tegnell said, adding that opinion polls show that the Swedish public was generally in in favor of agency approach. So, public awareness! Tegnell did not rule out more stringent measures in Sweden, however, telling CNBC that if there was a sharp increase in issues, the government and the Public Health Agency would have a “big discussion of what other measures we can take. “. This weekend, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said Stockholm isolation could happen if the spread worsens, but that such measures are not currently being discussed.
Life goes on Sweden has not completely left the rest of Europe. In a similar vein to its neighbors, the Swedish government has advocated work at home if possible, avoiding unimportant travel, and seniors are advised to avoid social contact. Tips to wash your hands regularly have also been promoted. Restaurants, bars, cafes and nightclubs have been told to offer seating tables only. And since Sunday, gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned. Universities and colleges have also been closed, and schools with students under 16 remain open.
As such, compared to elsewhere in Europe, life in Sweden seems extremely normal, Stockholm residents say. The economy of Sweden Restricted or not, Sweden’s economy will not escape the economic crisis that has swept the world. Last week, Swedbank predicted that the economy would shrink by 4% in 2020. “The decline in the Swedish economy is wider and faster than during the financial crisis.
Unemployment will reach 10% already by summer, despite unprecedented fiscal stimulus, “Swedbank said. Last week, the government announced an aid package for small and medium-sized enterprises, saying it will guarantee 70% of new loans banks give to companies that are experiencing financial hardship due to the virus. The government also temporarily lowered social security contributions and introduced leasehold support to enterprises.