The country's low-level measures against the pandemic have come under global criticism as it continues to take a lenient approach despite having the highest death toll compared to its Scandinavian neighbours.
Sweden’s low-key approach in its attempts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus has been criticised by experts and the leaders of several countries.
The Scandinavian country has kept primary and secondary schools open, and hasn’t closed its borders or pushed through any lockdown measures.
Brushing aside the insistence of imposing a lockdown by European countries, Sweden has passed orders seeking voluntary precautionary measures such as staying at home, working remotely, if possible, and avoiding crowded areas such as bars and restaurants.
More than 2,300 Swedish researchers urged the country at the end of last month to take stricter measures to minimise the coronavirus casualties.
“We don’t have a choice, we have to close Stockholm right now,” Professor Cecilia Soderberg-Naucler, one of around 2,300 academics, told Reuters.
Stockholm urges its 10.2 million citizens to take personal measures against the spread of Covid-19 rather than fining them for their actions.
On the other hand, Sweden’s neighbouring countries, Norway, Denmark and Finland, were among the first to apply a lockdown in Europe.
On March 11, Denmark announced some restrictions which made it the second country in Europe that took measures against the coronavirus. A day later, Norway joined and Finland also took some steps on March 17.
Moreover, the United States President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that if his country had not taken strict social distancing measures, then it would have suffered more deaths.
“They talk about Sweden, but Sweden is suffering very greatly,” Trump told reporters.
He said that most countries had adopted the same approach as the United States.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde on Wednesday hit back at Trump’s criticism of the Swedish approach to fighting the coronavirus, saying he was wrong to claim authorities were trying to achieve “herd immunity”.
“We do not have a strategy that aims at herd immunity at all,” Linde said.
Herd immunity aims to isolate vulnerable groups, allowing large numbers of the population to become ill and develop immunity to a disease.
Linde said that Sweden had adopted a number of tough measures — closing homes for elderly to visitors and holding higher education classes online.
“But on the other hand we don’t have that total lockdown,” she said.
“That means that some countries think we are not doing anything, but we are doing what is right for Sweden.”
The recent situation in Scandinavia
As of April 13, 899 people have died due to Covid-19 in Sweden where there are 10,483 positive cases.
When it comes to its neighbouring countries, Norway, Denmark and Finland, the death toll is substantially lower than Sweden.
Each of these countries’ populations varies between 5.3 and 5.6 million.
In Norway, Denmark, and Finland there are 6,525, 6,174 and 2,974 Covid-19 positive cases, respectively.
When it comes to the death toll, 128 people have died in Norway, 273 in Denmark and 56 in Finland, according to data from John Hopkins University.