US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Sweden is the only EU country to decide not to take harsh measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic. There are no state of emergency or quarantine regimes on the territory of the state, even schools and kindergartens continue to operate. The authorities have relied on the consciousness of their citizens, and so far this model continues to exist. How Sweden is fighting the coronavirus, Gazeta.Ru understood.
The Swedish government has extended for a month the ban on entry into the country from countries outside the European Union due to the spread of coronavirus. Restrictive measures will continue to apply until May 15. According to Prime Minister Stefan Leuven , it is not yet known whether this ban will be extended in the future.
The external borders of the country have been closed since mid-March, and this is perhaps one of the few bans that applies in Sweden to combat coronavirus.
Sweden is currently in a unique position – it is the only country in the EU that has refused to follow the quarantine path.
According to the latest data, more than 12 thousand cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in the country, and the number of victims exceeded 1.3 thousand. However, the situation is developing relatively stably and without the sharp jumps in infection that were observed in Germany in late March.
In general, these indicators cannot be called bad, since the country is far from the leader in the number of cases in Europe – this position is taken by Spain, where almost 185 thousand are infected. And in terms of mortality, she can’t catch Italy, more than 22 thousand people died there.
Sweden can somehow compete only with its neighbors: Denmark, Norway and Finland, where strict quarantine measures apply. In the first two countries affected – about 7 thousand people. In Finland – almost 3.5 thousand. In all three countries, 548 people died.
However, the Swedish authorities are not going to deviate from their strategy. While schools, enterprises and public places are closed in Denmark and Norway, life in Sweden is actually taking its course. Shops are open, citizens go in for sports in the open air, and any prohibitions concern only mass gatherings.
A significant moment was the Easter holidays, which throughout the EU were perceived as one of the main threats. On the eve of the Catholic holiday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the Germans to maintain isolation and noted a tendency to improve the situation in Germany.
“We must continue to follow measures during Easter and after it, because we can very quickly destroy what we have achieved,” Merkel said.
In Sweden, the government asked citizens to act responsibly and avoid events where more than 50 people are present. Moreover, all the appeals of the authorities are of a recommendatory nature and do not imply any punishments.
The mild nature of the measures does not mean that the country is in no way fighting a pandemic. Any infected person is isolated from other citizens, and those who contact him are tested. The country also has WHO recommendations on social distance, hygiene and other precautions.
The main difference between the Swedish model is that they did not strangle the economy with bans – enterprises and shops work, as well as small cafes. If possible, residents are encouraged to switch to remote work, but again, these are exactly the recommendations.
The ability to travel inside the country remains, trains continue to run. The authorities only urged residents of the country to abandon “unnecessary trips”, but did not prohibit the movement as a whole, as they did in Denmark.
“The government informed the Swedes that even with a relatively free mode of life, a number of restrictions should be observed – social standards.
People on their own comply with the regulations that come from medical authorities and authorities. They do not create any tense situations, ”said Nikolai Topornin, associate professor of European law at MGIMO, in a conversation with Gazeta.Ru .
The authorities are counting on a high level of discipline among their citizens, the expert added. In the case of Sweden, this scenario remains viable and still works.
An example for many?
The actions of the Swedish government in a pandemic are far from positively evaluated. The state is faced with criticism from its partners and even its own citizens. In particular, within the country, the media systematically raise the question of the effectiveness of measures taken.
As Dagens Nyheter wrote, the pandemic revealed the failure of the Swedish public health agency, led by Andres Tegnell, the country’s leading epidemiologist. Analysts accused him of too soft recommendations and pointed out the direct need for strict restrictions. At the same time, their colleagues from the Norwegian Daily, on the contrary, called not to blame the Swedish authorities ahead of time.
Sweden’s strategy is more focused on slowing the spread of the virus, Politico analysts say, while neighboring countries are trying to “put an end to” the pandemic.
Paul Franks, a professor of epidemiology at Lund University, told the publication that the Swedish method could be an example for other European countries. “The lessons of the Nordic countries will be useful for other states and in case of new pandemics. There will be many areas of research on these issues, ”said the professor.
However, this model is definitely not suitable for all countries. For example, American leader Donald Trump is confident that Sweden’s path would lead to 2 million deaths in the United States.
“Sweden is different from us. They went the other way. To begin with, they are a very disciplined country, ”the US president emphasized.
It is extremely difficult to unambiguously assess the situation with the Swedish model, Nikolai Topornin believes. We can only say that it definitely works for Sweden because of the specifics of this country.
“Using their example, one can watch how the doctrine of social restriction works during a pandemic. Not the fact that this will work for other states, including the European Union. A unique model works in Sweden, and each country should take into account its own specifics, ”the expert concluded.
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