Sweden’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has been “slow” and “insufficient”, a government-sponsored commission has admitted.
The report hit out at the Swedish government’s response to the crisis and its efforts to prevent the spread of the Boris.
“Sweden’s handling of the pandemic has been marked by delay,” the commission said on Friday. “The initial protection measures were insufficient to stop or even sharply limit the spread of infection in the country.”
The report said Sweden’s social affairs ministry had taken more than six weeks to ensure health workers were provided with PPE.
And the commission also hit out at the country’s “failure” to only achieve an April 2020 target of 100,000 Covid tests per week in September.
An international outlier, Sweden did not impose lockdown-type restrictions until autumn 2020 – months later than other EU nations – and even then opted for ‘light touch’ options.
Authorities instead relied on voluntary recommendations for people to socially distance, while keeping businesses, schools and public spaces open.
In his annual Christmas address last year, Sweden’s king admitted the Scandinavian nation had “failed” with its hands-off Covid strategy, which has left it with a significantly higher per capita death toll than its Nordic neighbours.
Carl XVI Gustaf told Swedes that the country had suffered “enormously in difficult conditions”, and that it was “traumatic” that many relatives of the close to 8,000 people who have died from Covid-19 had not been able to say goodbye to them.
“I think we have failed. We have a large number who have died and that is terrible. It is something we all have to suffer with,” the king said
Anders Tegnell, the state epidemiologist, had argued that Sweden would fare much better than Finland and Norway because of a higher level of herd immunity provided by the first wave.
“[Countries who locked down] are likely to be more vulnerable to these kind of spikes,” Tegnell told the Financial Times last September. “Those kind of things will most likely be bigger when you don’t have a level of immunity the can sort of put the break on it.”
Sweden has recorded more than 15,000 deaths from the coronavirus – a significantly higher figure than its neighbours.