While many European countries are seeing new cases surge to levels not seen since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sweden – whose light-touch approach has made it an international outlier – has one of the continent’s lowest infection rates.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Scandinavian country’s 14-day cumulative total of new cases was 22.2 per 100,000 inhabitants on Tuesday, against 279 in Spain, 158.5 in France, 118 in the Czech Republic, 77 in Belgium and 59 in the UK, all of which imposed lockdowns this spring.
Twenty-two of the 31 European countries surveyed by the ECDC had higher infection rates. New cases, now reported in Sweden only from Tuesday to Friday, are running at roughly the rate seen in late-March, while data from the national health agency showed only 1.2% of its 120,000 tests last week came back positive.
Sweden also has fewer new daily infections than Norway and Denmark, its Nordic neighbours. Thirteen Covid-19 patients are in intensive care in Swedish hospitals, and its seven-day average of coronavirus-related deaths is zero.
“We don’t have the resurgence of the disease that many countries have,” Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist and architect of its no-lockdown strategy, told broadcaster France-24 in an interview, adding that the country was broadly happy with its overall strategy.
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