Has Sweden’s coronavirus strategy failed?
The shift in tone is noteworthy given Sweden’s notorious light-touch approach to the pandemic. “It is a clear and sharp signal to every person in our country as to what applies in the future,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said during a news conference Monday. “Don’t go to the gym, don’t go the library, don’t have dinner out, don’t have parties — cancel!”
Sweden had set itself apart from its Nordic neighbors in its laissez-faire policies, joining only autocratic Belarus as the two European nations that eschewed major coronavirus lockdowns when the continent was hit by the first wave. The country’s nursing homes were ravaged by the virus, but life went on largely as usual in much of the rest of the country: Most schools and business remained open, while Swedish health authorities have even counseled against the widespread wearing of masks.