By Tara Rippin • 21 August 2020 • 13:00
SWEDEN has recorded its highest death toll in 150 years.
In the first six months of 2020, the number of fatalities was up 10 per cent on average for the same period over the last five years, the country’s statistics office has confirmed.
In the months from January to June of this year, 51,405 Swedes died. The last time the country – which has a population of 10.3 million – suffered such a high number of deaths was in 1869, when the lives of 55,431 people were claimed by a famine.
Of those lives lost in the first six months of this year, around 4,500 were registered as coronavirus deaths. This has since risen to 5,805.
However, this figure is still considerably lower than the UK (41,403) and Spain (28,797).
Sweden has come under fire for its more relaxed approach to the killer bug, refusing to enforce a total lockdown and instead urging the population to exercise responsibility by social distancing and working from home where possible.
Cafes, restaurants, shops and schools remained open in a bid to protect the country’s economy.
State epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, admitted on a Swedish radio channel in January that stricter preventative measures – in particular restricting movement and gatherings – would have resulted in less deaths.
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Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.
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