Why Sweden Is STILL Not Under A Lockdown During The Coronavirus Pandemic

by Gizel Menezes
Why Sweden Is STILL Not Under A Lockdown During The Coronavirus Pandemic

While most European countries and their Scandinavian counterparts have imposed strict lockdown measures, and wear deserted looks due to the coronavirus pandemic, in Sweden, nothing of sorts has changed. Playgrounds are full of children, parents gather and chat, cafes and gyms are open, and even the highways heading out of town are busy with cars.

Yes, the Swedish authorities have advised their citizens to practice social distancing and work from home, but the restrictions are fairly minimal. Public gatherings have been limited to 50 people. People over the age of 70 and those falling in risk groups have been advised to avoid contact with other people. Even the King of Sweden, Carl Gustaf and his wife Silvia are self-isolating in a castle.

So why is it that Sweden hasn’t gone into a complete lockdown, given the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country (6,830 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 401 deaths)?

Image Courtesy: Daily Express

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Why Is Sweden Still Not Under A Lockdown?

According to Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, less restrictive policies are more sustainable and work better in the long run, eradicating mass hysteria and panic among the people. The Swedish authorities don’t want to restrict their citizens indoors for long periods of time, thereby enabling them to be mentally and physically healthy.

Also inherent in the Swedish population is their social contract, which is their trust in the state, trust by the state in its citizens and trust among citizens. So Swedes can be relied on to self-regulate and follow rules voluntarily.

Although a nation of 10 million people, Sweden is sparsely populated. It also has the highest number of single-person households in the world, which significantly cuts down the risk of the virus spreading within families. The Swedes also do not kiss or hug as much as southern Europeans tend to do.

So when the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven, urged Swedes to take individual responsibility to slow the spread of the virus, it was largely followed by the population, thus reducing the need for strict bans.

Image Courtesy: Coronavirus Covid-19

Sweden’s No-Lockdown Policy Has Been Criticised

However, Sweden’s policy has been met with criticism both from home and abroad. Sweden’s citizens are unhappy with the current policymaking of the government. A petition has been signed by over 2,000 doctors, professors, and scientists in the country, calling for the Swedish government to implement stronger measures. One of the signatories also includes Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin, the chairman of the Nobel Foundation.

While this strategy works well for now, the steep rise in the coronavirus cases may cause this to quickly change.

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