Man behind Sweden coronavirus plan says they should have had more restrictions

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The man behind Sweden’s approach to handling the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday said that the Scandanavian nation should have had more restrictions put in place to avoid the death toll the country has seen from the virus.

Sweden’s top epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who managed the country’s response to the pandemic, said in a radio interview that he may not have gone with the strategy of avoiding a national lockdown if he could do things again, Bloomberg News reported.

“If we were to encounter the same illness with the same knowledge that we have today, I think our response would land somewhere in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done,” Tegnell said in an interview with Swedish Radio.

“Clearly, there is potential for improvement in what we have done in Sweden,” he added, according to a translation from Bloomberg News. 

Previously, Tegnell had said the pandemic needed a sustainable response instead of shutting down the country, like several nations around the world did. In Sweden, gatherings of more than 50 people were prohibited, but its citizens could visit restaurants, go shopping, go to gyms and send children under 16 to school.

But now, with countries in the European Union loosening restrictions, there are indications that some EU countries will restrict Swedes from entering because the country may be considered a high-risk coronavirus zone. 

There is also no evidence that having kept these areas open in Sweden will keep the economy afloat, as the nation is seeing its worst economic crisis since World War II, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said, according to Bloomberg News. 

Sweden has one of the highest mortality rates for COVID-19 globally, with 43 deaths per 100,000 residents. The death rate is much higher than for its neighbors Denmark and Norway, which instituted stricter lockdowns. 

Several Swedish officials criticized Tegnell for his comments, with the minister of health and social affairs Lena Hallengren saying he “still can’t give an exact answer on what other measures should have been taken,” according to a Bloomberg News translation of the Dagens Nyhete newspaper.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has promised an investigation of the management of the pandemic before the summer. 

Sweden has confirmed 38,589 cases of coronavirus, leading to at least 4,468 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Tags Anders Tegnell Coronavirus coronavirus deaths coronavirus restrictions COVID-19 European Union lockdowns reopening Sweden

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