By Damon Mitchell •
Published: 01 Apr 2020 • 11:55
Daily life in Sweden continues despite the rest of Europe being in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, with pubs, schools and restaurants all still open.
Sweden has so far seen 4,435 cases and 180 deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government says lockdown could lead to an economic disaster, however, the relaxed measures have raised alarm in the country’s medical community.
A petition signed by more than 2,000 doctors, scientists, and professors has now called on the government to tighten restrictions.
“We’re not testing enough, we’re not tracking, we’re not isolating enough – we’ve let the virus loose,” said Prof Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér, a virus expert at the Karolinska Institute.
PM Stefan Lofven has tightened restrictions in recent days by limiting gatherings to 50 but still insists there is no need to shutdown.
Its closest neighbours, Denmark, Finland, and Norway, have all introduced a no-nonsense lockdown strategy, closing schools, workplaces and borders weeks ago.
Norway has around a quarter of the deaths than the figure recorded in Sweden and insists its tough stance is already saving lives.
Denmark has recorded 90 coronavirus fatalities and Finland just 17.
His Social Democratic government has argued citizens can be trusted to act responsibly and will stay indoors if they experience any symptoms.
The public has been told to practice social distancing and to work from home if possible but only those over 70 are urged to self-isolate.
Secondary schools and universities have now closed, but preschools and primary schools are still open as usual.
Bars and diners are seen overflowing with customers and buses and trains are packed with families and commuters.
Public parks and shopping malls are also bustling with only the odd glimpse of a face mask hinting things aren’t quite as normal as they seem.
Perhaps that is not surprising, as according to a new poll more than half of Swedes are more than happy to carry on as if the virus doesn’t exist.
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