Anders Tegnell of the Public Well being Company denied that “the Swedish technique was mistaken and must be modified. That is not the case.”
“We nonetheless imagine that our technique is sweet, however there’s all the time room for enchancment. … You may all the time get higher at this job,” Tegnell informed a information convention in Stockholm.
Sweden has stood out amongst European nations and the world for the way in which it has dealt with the pandemic, not shutting down the nation or the economic system like different nations however counting on residents’ sense of civic responsibility.
Swedish authorities have suggested folks to apply social distancing, however colleges, bars and eating places have been saved open all the time.
Solely gatherings of greater than 50 folks have been banned.
Tegnell’s assertion to reporters got here after extra contrite feedback earlier within the day to Swedish radio through which he stated “I believe there’s potential for enchancment in what we now have achieved in Sweden, fairly clearly.”
Requested if the nation’s excessive demise toll has made him rethink his distinctive method to the pandemic, Tegnell informed Swedish radio “sure, completely.”
Based on the nationwide well being company, Sweden, a nation of 10.2 million folks, has seen 4,542 deaths linked to COVID-19, which is way over its Nordic neighbours and one of many highest per capita demise charges on this planet.
Denmark has had 580 coronavirus deaths, Finland has seen 320 and Norway has had 237, in response to a tally by Johns Hopkins College.
“If we had been to come across the identical illness once more, understanding exactly what we find out about it as we speak, I believe we’d choose doing one thing in between what Sweden did and what the remainder of the world has achieved,” Tegnell, thought of the architect of the distinctive Swedish pandemic method, informed SR.
Nonetheless, authorities in Sweden, together with Tegnell, have been criticised — and a few have apologised — for failing to guard the nation’s aged and nursing dwelling residents.
However Tegnell stated Wednesday it was nonetheless unclear what the nation ought to have achieved in another way.
He additionally stated different nations are unable to inform precisely what measures affected the outcomes of their outbreaks as a result of they threw all the pieces on the disaster without delay.
“Possibly we all know that now, while you begin easing the measures, we may get some sort of lesson about what else, moreover what we did, you could possibly do with no complete shutdown,” Tegnell stated within the radio interview.
On the information convention, Tegnell made it clear that his earlier assertion “was an admission that we all the time can develop into higher. I am positive my colleagues all around the world would say the identical factor. There are all the time features which we may have dealt with this example even higher than we do as we speak, now, as we study increasingly more issues,” he informed The Related Press.
“Typically I really feel like a private punchbag, however that is OK. I can dwell with that,” Tegnell added.
Final week, the nation’s former state epidemiologist, Annika Linde, stated on reflection she believes an early lockdown may have saved lives in Sweden.
Political strain has additionally pressured the Swedish authorities to hurry up an investigation into the dealing with of the pandemic.
Strange Swedes aren’t positive what to assume.
“I am not strolling round pondering that we now have an actual catastrophe right here in Sweden,” Jan Arpi, a 58-year-old gross sales govt, informed The Related Press.
“I believe we now have it roughly below management, however we now have to be much more cautious now after we discovered how the virus is unfold, particularly amongst aged folks.”
Tegnell’s pandemic techniques made Sweden a little bit of a neighborhood pariah within the Nordics and did not spare the Swedish economic system.
Sweden’s economic system, which depends closely on exports, is anticipated to shrink seven p.c in 2020 and the finance minister says the Scandinavian nation is headed for “a really deep financial disaster”.
Greater than 76,000 folks have been made redundant because the outbreak started and unemployment, which now stands at 7.9 perecnt, is anticipated to climb larger.
On the journey entrance, neighbouring Norway and Denmark stated they had been dropping mutual border controls however would maintain Sweden out of a Nordic “journey bubble.”
The Danes stated they’ll reopen the border subsequent month to residents of Germany, Norway and Iceland because the nation eased its coronavirus lockdown. However Denmark, which has a bridge that goes straight into Sweden, has postponed a choice reopening to Swedish guests till after the summer season.