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Lockdown-free Sweden’s coronavirus death toll tops 4,000

Sweden has registered more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths after shunning lockdown in favour of more relaxed social distancing.

The country reported a total of 33,843 cases on Monday and 4,029 deaths, far in excess of the totals reported by its Nordic neighbours who went into full lockdown.

Critics have accused Swedish authorities of gambling with citizens’ lives by not imposing strict stay-at-home measures.

According to AFP data, Sweden’s virus death rate of 399 per million inhabitants is far higher than Norway’s 43 per million, Denmark’s 97, or Finland’s 55. 

Sweden's coronavirus death toll stood at 4,029 on Monday after a rise of 31 fatalities in a day (pictured, a graph showing the country's daily death toll)

Sweden's coronavirus death toll stood at 4,029 on Monday after a rise of 31 fatalities in a day (pictured, a graph showing the country's daily death toll)

Sweden’s coronavirus death toll stood at 4,029 on Monday after a rise of 31 fatalities in a day (pictured, a graph showing the country’s daily death toll)

Sweden has also reported a total of 33,843 cases after a daily rise of 384 (pictured, a graph showing daily case totals) - putting it well ahead of other Nordic countries

Sweden has also reported a total of 33,843 cases after a daily rise of 384 (pictured, a graph showing daily case totals) - putting it well ahead of other Nordic countries

Sweden has also reported a total of 33,843 cases after a daily rise of 384 (pictured, a graph showing daily case totals) – putting it well ahead of other Nordic countries

However it is still lower than the worst-hit European nations which did go into full lockdown such as France at 435 per million, Britain and Italy, both at 542, and Spain at 615.

Schools have remained open for those aged under 16, along with cafes, bars, restaurants and retail businesses.

Instead of staying at home, people were asked to respect social distance and increase their personal hygiene such as hand-washing. 

That has led to a higher case and death totals in Sweden than other Scandinavian countries, even when population size is taken into account.

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has admitted mistakes were made in Sweden’s approach, including not providing enough protection to care homes.

Ninety per cent of Sweden’s virus deaths have occurred in the over-70s. 

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has defended his decision not to go into full lockdown, saying it will be better for the country in the long-term

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has defended his decision not to go into full lockdown, saying it will be better for the country in the long-term

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has defended his decision not to go into full lockdown, saying it will be better for the country in the long-term

But he has defended his decision not to go into lockdown, and cautioned against running comparisons of country’s death and case data. 

‘In Sweden, anybody who has the diagnosis of COVID-19 and dies within 30 days after that is called a COVID-19 case, irrespective of the actual cause of death,’ he said.

‘And we know that in many other countries there are other ways of counting that are used.’

Tegnell has repeatedly insisted that stricter measures would not have saved more Swedish lives.

Three-quarters of those who have died have been either in nursing homes or receiving at-home care.

Tegnell noted that a ban on visits to nursing homes was introduced in mid-March, but said elderly residents needed regular contact with their carers – who were believed to have spread the virus around many nursing homes.

Sweden shunned the full lockdown imposed by most other European countries - keeping shops, restaurants and bars open in favour of social distancing (pictured, a mall in Stockholm)

Sweden shunned the full lockdown imposed by most other European countries - keeping shops, restaurants and bars open in favour of social distancing (pictured, a mall in Stockholm)

Sweden shunned the full lockdown imposed by most other European countries – keeping shops, restaurants and bars open in favour of social distancing (pictured, a mall in Stockholm)

The government has admitted making mistakes in its strategy including not doing enough to protect care homes, but says avoiding lockdown was not an error (file image)

The government has admitted making mistakes in its strategy including not doing enough to protect care homes, but says avoiding lockdown was not an error (file image)

The government has admitted making mistakes in its strategy including not doing enough to protect care homes, but says avoiding lockdown was not an error (file image)

‘I’m really not sure that we could have done so much more,’ he said in a weekend interview with Swedish Radio, acknowledging nonetheless that the country had ended up in a ‘terrible situation that highlights the weaknesses of our elderly care.’

He said care homes had initially failed to respect basic hygiene rules that could have curbed the spread of the disease, but said the situation had since improved.

The Board of Health and Welfare meanwhile insisted Sweden’s nursing homes were functioning well.

It noted that a total of 11,000 nursing home residents died in January-April this year, compared with 10,000 during the same period a year ago.

And Tegnell told reporters Monday that the overall situation in Sweden ‘was getting better,’ with a declining number of people being admitted to intensive care units, a drop in the number of cases being reported in nursing homes, and fewer deaths in nursing homes.

Source: Daily Mail – Articles

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